After spending months going over nearly 90 applications from contenders seeking to be Lee College’s next president, and whittling it down to four, the board is close to naming a finalist. 

Last week, four finalists visited the campus to meet and answer questions from Lee College faculty, administrators, students and the public. The four candidates are Dr. Stephen W. Dunnivant, Dean of Business, Industry and Technology at Tallahassee Community College; Dr. Johnny Moore, president of Pierpont Community and Technical College in Fairmont, WV; Dr. Scott Scarborough. Professor of Practice – School of Accountancy at the University of Akron and previous University of Akron president; and Dr. Lynda Villanueva, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Affairs at Brazosport College.

After reviewing the responses of the four prospective candidates and taking them on a tour of the campus, the board is on the brink of making a decision. 

The board will meet at 6:05 p.m. in Tucker Hall on the college campus Thursday to consider naming a sole finalist to follow Dr. Dennis Brown as the college’s 10th president. 

“After we name a finalist, we will start negotiating a contract,” said Board Chair Mark Hall. “Then, we have a statutory waiting period between the time we name a finalist and when we actually ratify them and vote on a contract.”

The waiting period is mandated by law and lasts 21 days, Hall said. Originally, the board was expecting to finalize the new president’s approval at its regular meeting Oct. 24, but now it appears that may happen around mid-October, according to Hall.

“We are slightly ahead of schedule,” he said. “Sometimes there is a site visit, but I am not sure if that will take place or not.”

To be named the finalist candidate, they must receive at least five votes from the nine-member board, which is a majority.  

The details of the contract, such as salary and length, are going to be hammered out during the 21-waiting period, Hall said. 

“There is a seven-day window, so it doesn’t have to be exactly 21 days, but at least that long,” Hall said. “At that point, we will bring a motion forward to enter into a contract with the finalist for whatever amount of money for whatever length. By that time, we will have worked out a transition time and date. They might start Jan. 1 or whenever.”

Brown is set to retire Jan. 31, 2020. 

Hall said there are situations where a candidate is named, but contract negotiations break down for one reason or another. 

 “So, if the board extends it all the want to and the prospective president rejects it, then you go back and ask the No. 2 candidate or go out and start over,” he said. “We purposely left contingency time in our schedule so in case this did happen, we could regroup, name another finalist and have them here before Dr. Dennis Brown leaves in January 2020.”

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