Ricky Di Williams
Published: January 24, 2006
Governor Charlie Crist withdrew 283 gubernatorial appointments when he took office a couple of weeks ago. Four of the names on the withdrawal docket are members of PJC’s Board of Trustees; Chairwoman Dona Usry, Celeste Norris, Deidre Young, and Harry Miller Caldwell.
The other five members, Vincent R. Andry, Carol Carlan, Gerald McKenzie, Denis McKinnon, Jr. and John O’Connor were not affected.
When the governor appoints someone to a specific office, that appointment must be reviewed and accepted by the Florida Committee on Ethics and Elections. Because the Committee only meets once per term, appointments made after that meeting will remain pending until the next year.
Withdrawing so many appointments isn’t too unorthodox, said Larry Bracken, PJC’s executive director of government affairs. When a new governor takes office, he has the prerogative to withdraw the previous governor’s pending appointees.
Once withdrawn, the former appointee has the option to reapply for the same position or one on a different board.
In the case of PJC’s Board of Trustees, it’s possible that up to three of the withdrawn members will either be reinstated by Crist or have the option of reapplying.
Usry and Young, both on their second four-year term, and Norris, on her first, may very well be reappointed by Crist. Caldwell had already resigned from his post but still appears on the list of pending appointees withdrawn.
Crist’s actions could bring about great change concerning Florida’s education system, namely the FCAT.
But what does a change like this mean? “For our students, not much,” Bracken said.
The Board of Trustees is mainly in charge of setting policies and hiring or firing the school’s president. As such, a change in membership shouldn’t affect the day-to-day happenings of PJC’s students.
“A change in the school’s Board of Trustees won’t change the school’s course of action much,” PJC President Tom Delaino said.
According to Bracken, there’s a common course of action the board tends to follow, despite who’s on it. So getting a few new appointments shouldn’t change the overall flow.
“It’s still important to know about,” Bracken said.