It should go without saying that governors should appoint university-board chairmen and members on the basis of their commitment to high academic standards, sound fiscal policies, and managerial ability, as opposed to political factors.
Yet the editors of the New York Post have rightly found it necessary to decry one such possible, likely politically motivated appointment. Their concern is about word on the grapevine that New York governor Andrew Cuomo may appoint the former state comptroller, Carl McCall, to chair the State University Board of Trustees (on which I served for twelve years).
According to the Post, Cuomo no doubt feels he is in McCall’s debt because the latter endorsed him in last year’s gubernatorial race.
Pulling no punches, the editors allege that McCall, while the sole trustee of the state’s vast pension, used his position to obtain jobs for his relatives. Would a McCall chairmanship, they ask, devolve into “a patronage mill”?
The editors are also wary of McCall’s long, unbreakable solidarity with the teachers unions and fear that as chair he might devastate the charter-school movement (given that SUNY is one of the main entities that authorizes charter schools).
Kudos to the Post for sounding the warning bell.