Public Comment by Maribeth Roman Schmidt

My comments pertain to the Business and Industry classification of Trustees. Of the nine trustees on the executive committee in this past year, six of them — two-thirds — were Business and Industry trustees. So this is a very important classification, and one that people who are interested in the decision-making process at Penn State should understand.

By show of hands, which of you have been elected to the Board as a Business and Industry trustee?  Thank you.

So, we have Mr. Hintz, who was elected in 1994 – 19 years ago – and “re-elected” six times since.

Mr. Broadhurst, you joined us in 1998 – 15 years and five “re-elections” ago.

Ms. Strumpf, it’s been ten years and three “reelections” since you came onto the board in 2003.

Mr. Surma, your bio indicates that you’re serving the last months of your second term since joining the board in 2007.

Mr. Frazier, you came on in 2009, and apparently re-upped last year for a second term that will expire in 2015.

And, finally, that brings us to Ms. Peetz, who will complete her first term in this year — 2013.

Given the central role in Penn State affairs played by the Business and Industry Trustees, I’m sure I’m not alone in wanting to better understand how you were elected. What is the process to nominate someone as a Business and Industry trustee?  As evidenced by those in the room today, the Business and Industry elections seem to ensure that incumbents can indefinitely retain their seats. How exactly does the Board conduct these elections?

Personal stories are always illustrative. As the most recently-appointed B&I trustees, I’d like to ask Mr. Surma, Mr. Frazier and Ms. Peetz to briefly share with us just how you came to sit in the seats you have today.  Who did you meet with?  How were you nominated?  And, who exactly did you run against?

To conclude, I respectfully ask that you share with those joining us today, including the members of the media, the exact process and the exact deadlines for nominating someone to run against Mr. Surma and Ms. Peetz, whose Business and Industry terms are expiring this year. You have produced a three-page Business and Industry trustee nominating form. Will you publicly solicit nominations for Business and Industry trustees? Where will you publicize this nomination process? And how will we be kept apprised of the process in the interest oftransparency and openness?

2 thoughts on “Public Comment by Maribeth Roman Schmidt – January 18, 2013 Board of Trustees Meeting

  1. I concur – excellent. I only wish she had added a question or comment about Jack Wagner’s suggestions in his fine and detailed report – that the number of trustees be reduced (yes, including business and industry) and that said trustees be elected in the manner of the ag society trustees – by actual business and industry groups existing in PA. Currently, the board “elects” business and industry trustees.

    And so the painful saga of this pitiful board continues.


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