GVSU awaits new governor to make board appointments

Courtesy Photo / Google Images
Douglas W. Crim

Courtesy Photo / Google Images Douglas W. Crim

Lauren Fitch

The Board of Trustees at Grand Valley State University continues to wait for the appointment of its new members following the state Senate’s rejection of the first round of appointees.

“We are thankful for their willingness to serve,” said Matt McLogan, vice president of university relations, of the former appointees. “But this process is out of the university’s hands.”

He added there is nothing the university can do except wait to see who the new governor will appoint.

The Michigan Senate voted 21-17 on April 28 to reject the appointments made by Gov. Jennifer Granholm. Granholm had made 14 appointments to the boards at seven state universities including GVSU.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop (R-Oakland County) said the appointments should be reserved for the next governor.

However, the governor’s office was disappointed to see her nominations rejected.

“The citizens of this state and our state universities are the real losers today,” said Liz Boyd, Granholm’s press secretary, in a statement. “Sen. Bishop rejected qualified appointees to serve our state universities, making them nothing more than partisan political pawns.”

Sen. Bill Hardiman (R-Kent County) voted against Granholm’s appointments. He said the appointments are typically made by the governor who will be serving during the time of the board members’ terms. Granholm’s term will end at noon on Jan. 1, 2011 and the new board members would not begin their terms until then. He added Granholm would likely make appointments in support of her political ideology.

“It has nothing to do with the quality of the appointees or against the school,” Hardiman said.

Douglas Crim of Haslett and Matthew Tomasiewicz of Grand Rapids were Granholm’s appointees to the GVSU board, though now they are no longer slated for the position.

McLogan described them both as “fine men.”

Crim said he was disappointed to be able to serve the university.

“I’m not someone who’s a political appointee who has no tie to the university,” said Crim, who attended GVSU on a wrestling scholarship and since has served as head of the Alumni Association and also as a member of the Wrestling Association. “I actually have a very long history with the university.”

Crim described the situation as “very political” and said he is unsure whether he has very good odds of being reappointed by the next governor.

“If the next governor wants to appoint someone with a significant relationship with the university, I might stand a chance,” Crim said.

There are two soon-to-be-vacant spots on GVSU’s Board of Trustees as the terms of Dorothy Johnson and Lucille Taylor expire on Dec. 31, 2010.

Johnson has served on the board for 15 1/2 years, or about two terms. During her time on the board, Johnson saw the appointment of two GVSU presidents, Mark Murray and Thomas Haas.

Though she said she would have been honored to be reappointed, Johnson also said the previous appointees would have been good additions to GVSU.

“There were many fine people recommended for service,” Johnson said. “I regret that by the Senate’s rejection, they can no longer be appointed.”

Johnson said she does not think political bias has a very big impact on the board’s decisions.

“During my service, I have never taken a position for the good of GVSU based on my political views, nor have I observed any other board member do so,” she said.

Johnson and Taylor will finish out their terms for the fall semester at GVSU before the next governor’s appointees take over in 2011.

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