Ad-hoc committee sets criteria to review president’s performance

Board members outlined plans Wednesday to move forward with an evaluation document that the Board of Regents would use to make a final decision on President Randy Dunn’s employment contract.

In a special meeting of the board’s ad-hoc contract review committee in Louisville, Ky., committee members agreed on four strategic areas of importance in determining Dunn’s performance at the University: University progress; state appropriations; relationships between the board and the president; and the board’s final contract were all outlined and discussed by members. Board Chair Constantine Curris, Vice Chair Marilyn Buchanon and Stephen Williams, chair of the board’s finance committee are the three members of the ad-hoc committee – all three members of the committee – were present Wednesday.

Curris recommended that the committee collect specific data under each provision of the final report to the board. He suggested rankings, reputational status, enrollment numbers and retention data, along with other data, should be collected from various publications, the University and the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education and then compared to sister universities inside the state.

Buchanon suggested that data could also be compared to universities of similar size such as Austin Peay in Clarksville, Tenn., but Williams and Curris agreed that the method of measurement would only be standardized if data were collected from the same institution.

“We just want to know how Murray State is doing today in light of where it was in 2007,” he said.

Dunn, who assumed the position of president in December 2006, has served as president for five years. His current contract, revised in 2010, is set to expire June 30, 2014, but it stipulates that the Board of Regents must decide on an extension by June 30 of this year.

In December, the board passed a resolution to create the ad-hoc committee and outlined two important dates. On March 15, the committee plans to go into executive session with the full board to measure its progress. There still exists some question as to whether or not it is legal for board to hold that meeting in a closed session. When Curris was asked how the meeting would be held, he said that decision could not be made until further along in the contract review process, despite the fact that the board already passed a resolution outlining the intention to hold the meeting behind closed doors.

“I don’t know,” he said. “We haven’t come to that point yet.”

Curris, who spoke with reporters after Wednesday’s meeting, said the final board decision on Dunn’s contract would likely not occur until June, in a special meeting for budget finalization business.

The ad-hoc committee, which received data collection assignments Wednesday, will discuss a time to meet at least once more before the March meeting.

In May, the ad-hoc committee will present its findings to the full board. Only then, Curris said, will actual contract negotiations take place. He did say, however, that the board could make a recommendation to either renew or deny the contract at any time after the March meeting.

Story by Austin Ramsey, Editor-in-Chief.