Trustees Lubrano and Dandrea Have Heated Debate on Special Meetings
Penn State trustees Anthony Lubrano and Rick Dandrea went to battle again at Thursday’s Committee on Governance and Long-Range Planning meeting, arguing about the board’s provision to call a special meeting.
Dandrea, keeping with his continued agenda of trying to minimize the power of the alumni trustees, was insistent on raising the minimum requirement to call a special meeting — which currently sits at seven — to instead require a quorum of voting members, which is needed for official business to be transacted.
This came in response to the special meeting called in December by the alumni-elected trustees to consider Anthony Lubrano’s resolution that would have added Penn State as plaintiff in State Sen. Jake Corman’s lawsuit. When the legislation first came to the floor during the November board meeting, Vice Chair Kathleen Casey moved to review it in a closed executive session before voting because it involves legal matter.
“What’s interesting to me is that it was tabled at a time when the trial was scheduled to begin before [tomorrow’s board] meeting,” Lubrano said. “What you’re doing here is very transparent. You don’t want dissent. You talk about not wanting to waste resources by holding a meeting where official business can’t be conducted and that’s laughable considering the millions and millions this board has wasted.”
Dandrea voiced his belief that Lubrano purposely waited until the night before the November board meeting to circulate the resolution, opining that it was “a tactic to set this up for a special meeting.”
“You give me too much credit,” Lubrano responded, explaining that it was circulated late because new information that prompted the resolution came up just a week earlier.
Dandrea held up the one-page resolution, asking, “How long does it take to prepare this?”
“Well, Rick, I like to do quality work,” Lubrano fired back.
Alumni-elected trustee Barbara Doran said that it would be misguided to alter the provision on calling a special meeting based on a single issue with the current guideline.
“To change rules based on one incident, a one-time disagreement, would not be wise,” Doran said. “It’s a mechanism that’s in there for the minority to be able to speak up.”
That minority, in this case, is the nine alumni-elected trustees who have tended to vote as a bloc over the last few years. Chair Keith Masser said that the minority group of trustees can utilize other means to publicly voice its opinions than official board resources.
“There are other forums that you can use to have a venting session instead of a meeting in which you can’t conduct business that will waste people’s time and resources,” Masser said.
There was no decision made on the future of special meetings as this was just a committee discussion, but legislation moving to alter the provision could come up at the committee’s next meeting in March.
In addition to discussing special meetings, the committee voted to approve student trustee guidelines that outline the process of selecting the now-codified member of the board going forward. There will be a core team and selection committee that recommend candidates and perform interviews.
The committee also unanimously passed guidelines on selecting the faculty trustee position after minimal discussion. It reviewed the procedures to select agricultural delegates and discussed tightening up the process.
The Presidential Search Review Task Force, chaired by Vice President for Administration Tom Poole, is working on a set of recommendations for future presidential searches, although he said “we hope not to use them anytime soon.” The task force is studying the process behind Eric Barron’s hiring, and plans to interview Barron himself for input on how things looked from his side as a candidate.