Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fire Chancellor McKinney

I am absolutely furious over the fiasco surrounding the resignation of Elsa Murano as president of Texas A&M University.
This is a major black eye for my alma mater and I place the blame squarely on Chancellor Mike McKinney. I want his resignation. Now!
As I noted earlier, McKinney failed to give adequate explanations for his poor review of Murano’s job performance, giving her low marks on a generic assessment form and then leaving all the written parts blank. I thought that showed very poor managerial skills on the part of Chancellor McKinney. What I did not realize at the time, was that McKinney was the one who hand-picked Murano for the position of president in the first place!
Murano was not on the list of people that the executive search committee came up with after Robert Gates left to become Secretary of Defense. She was picked out of the blue by McKinney who championed her and made a big fuss as to how she was to be the first female and first Hispanic president at Texas A&M.
So how is it that just one year later McKinney is hinting to the media that he wants to throw Murano out and take over the position of president for himself? How does that work?
What kind of awful things did Murano do to merit such a sharp turnaround in McKinney’s fickle support? We are given no clue. Only that she apparently did not jump quickly enough when he would bark orders, nor would she say “How high?” on her way up. Would McKinney have made such demands of a white male serving as president? Is that why he handpicked Murano? With the expectation that she would be totally subservient and act as little more than a puppet for the chancellor’s office?
How did McKinney wind up as chancellor in the first place? A former Republican state representative who served as chief of staff for Gov. Rick Perry, he seems like a political crony who took advantage of the governor’s power to make appointments and dole out the spoils of government.
Am I not being fair? Did McKinney really have a legitimate reason for trashing Murano and forcing her to resign over the weekend? Then will someone please explain this golden parachute Murano got?

According to a transition agreement released by the A&M System offices, she will be paid her present salary, $425,000, for the sabbatical year, along with an additional payment of $295,000.
At the end of the year she will begin work as a tenured professor of nutrition and food science, at a salary of $260,000. Additionally, she will have a department budget of $100,000 a year for four years, according to the agreement.

$720,000 to do nothing for a year? And then she gets to come back to a $260,000 a year faculty position??? This is how you deal with someone who does a poor job and has to be removed from their position?
Or is there something more to this?
The next step seems clear to me. McKinney needs to resign and then we need to get a new board of regents who are not all indebted to Rick Perry or George W. Bush.

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