Gainous prepares to change roles at University

Time is winding down, plans must be made and University President Fred Gainous has begun to make arrangements for leaving his position.

Gainous, who was fired after a 9-4 trustee vote Sept. 28, approached the Board of Trustees with several requests for his tenure following his leaving. Among the requests made by the president and granted by the board, is a contractual increase to be paid annually. The increase will begin being paid to Gainous in July 2005.

Gainous and the Board of Trustees also agreed that the University would retain him as a tenured professor at the end of his term. Gainous will teach in the field of which he received his undergraduate degree – College of Engineering, Science, Technology, and Agriculture.

After changing positions, Gainous will have the option of taking up to a year of paid leave. However, his salary will decrease 10 percent from about $275,000 to $274,500. The two parties also agreed to give a $32,000 increase to Gainous’ pension fund, a deal that sets him a part from the majority of the Univerisity’s faculty.

With a salary of $274,500, Gainous will likely be ranked among the highest paid professors through-out the state.

Board of Trustee member Barney Bishop said he believes that too much attention has been paid to this fact and said many professors receive a larger salary.

“There are Florida professors that make more than the governor,” Bishop said.

President Gainous has also expressed his aspirations to further develop an agriculture institute associated with the University, and hopes to work as an administrator and fund-raiser.

The Board of Trustees decided to convene on a later date to discuss the issue and present their decision.

As President Gainous’ tenure nears its end, the president and the board must conclude any open questions and begin the transition into the next administration.

“We have given him what he asked for, so he has to be pleased,” said Board of Trustee Chairman James Corbin.

During an Oct. 27 Board of Trustee meeting, the trustees and Gainous agreed that the president would have only limited input into the hiring of new employees and approving contracts.

In an interview with the Tallahassee Democrat, Board of Trustee member Challis Lowe said she and others were concerned with making commitments to Gainous and others that would not be carried out.

With the president’s administrative powers now significantly diminished, the University has shifted its focus to making Gainous’ exit as smooth and routine as possible.

Several members of the BOT have been questioned about their heavy criticism of Gainous during the last few board meetings.

Bishop said he and his colleagues want to avoid any complications during the transition and want to recognize Gainous’ contributions.

“We all appreciate the work that President Gainous has done,” Bishop said.

The University is well into its search for an interim replacement for Gainous and a number of nominees and applicants have been named.

The Board of Trustees met Thursday to further discuss Gainous’ successor.

One applicant for the interim position, Castell Vaughn Bryant, will be interviewed Dec. 7.

With many alumni and students anticipating the next phase of the transition process and the decisions of the board, board members recognize the need for progress and change.

“I think the future of the University is good, but we know there is work to be done,” Bishop said.

Contact Steven Jumper at