Board of Trustee committee votes to recommend presidential search

A subset of the Florida A&M University’s Board of Trustees took their initial steps to decide who will be deemed the institution’s next permanent leader on Monday.

The presidential review special committee, a specialized board that handles the process of determining FAMU’s next permanent president, announced a formal recommendation to begin the search for a new leader.

During a conference call, the committee made the announcement, which in turn will be presented to the full Board of Trustees at their Tuesday meeting. The recommendation was finalized through a vote before the meeting adjourned.

During the call, Vice Chairman Kelvin Lawson said the time has come to determine what the board really wants in terms of a president for FAMU.

Topics discussed included a decision on if the board would move forward with an official president search or continue with current Interim President Larry Robinson.

The trustees will look for certain characteristics, experience, temperament and other components to assess the future executive leader.

“The next step for us would be to then decide if we want to move on with the search, with a clear profile of the candidate that we all agree to,” Lawson said.

The following step, if necessary, would be for the trustees to go forward with an official search firm that would have the expertise it takes to bring the board a candidate who meets the university’s standards.

“We could also decide to measure our current interim president against the same characteristics to say how close or how far he is to these characteristics that we deem extremely critical,” Lawson said.

This process could last up to four months.

Chairman Thomas Dortch said the committee is looking for input from the community.

“We want to make sure we’re transparent and make (FAMU’s community) feel like they’re a part of this,” Dortch said.

When asked about a budget for the process, Lawson said the trustees are looking at about $35,000-$50,000 to finance multiple objectives, including the potential search firm.

“Making a bad decision on a president will cost millions, making a good decision on a president will bring in millions,” Lawson said. “So it still feels like it will be money well spent.”

“There is no rush to determine the next permanent leader,” Lawson said.

“We want to operate more from a position of making good decisions of of insight versus a gut feel,” Lawson said. 

Board of Trustee meetings will continue throughout the week.