In a breaking news story posted about 9 a.m. today, The Times-Picayune reports that LSU System President John Lombardi will be fired early this afternoon by his board.In a breaking news story posted about 9 a.m. today, The Times-Picayune reports that LSU System President John Lombardi will be fired early this afternoon by his board.
Alvin Kimble, a member of the flagship system's governing board, told the newspaper Lombardi was asked by some board members to resign but refused. Kimble says Lombardi told him Thursday of the impending firing, according to the paper.The move would end a rocky tenure that began with much jubilation in the summer of 2007 but has since been marked by struggles over priorities and budgeting within the multicampus system. ...
Kimble said Lombardi's refusal will force the board majority, most of them appointed by Gov. Bobby Jindal, to take a public vote to remove him. Lombardi was hired when the board was controlled by appointees of governors Kathleen Blanco and Mike Foster.
"I certainly hope we get some answers for why they want to do this," Kimble said, adding that pressure on Lombardi has mounted from members of the Flagship Coalition, a group of business and civic leaders who want LSU's Baton Rouge campus to be clearly identified - and supported financially - as the state's top higher education priority.
Read the T-P story here.
Since that story, other news outlets are also reporting that Lombardi is a goner, though online news source Daily Report's sources initially said the "situation is still fluid," meaning Lombardi may opt to resign as part of a retirement settlement. Daily Report noted that there is an item on the board's agenda to discuss "presidential succession planning and action(s)." In a subsequent breaking news story posted around noon, Daily Report said negotiations regarding a retirement settlement had fallen through, according to its sources, and that a vote will be taken at the 1 p.m. board meeting to effectively let Lombardi's contract expire at the end of the year. However, he will be immediately removed from the role of system president, with former LSU System President and LSU Chancellor Bill Jenkins being named interim president.
An Independent source says there should be little doubt Gov. Jindal is behind this move to replace Lombardi.
In a story posted online later this morning by The Advocate, Kimble also said as much and noted that he believes Blanco's appointments to the board will not support Lombardi's removal:
Political pressure from the Jindal Administration is behind Lombardi's ouster, Kimble said. "John is very single-minded; he does what he thinks is best for the university without having any concern for the politics... He hasn't made friends with the administration."
Kimble said he expects most of former Gov. Kathleen Blanco's appointments to the board will not support Lombardi's termination, while most or all of Jindal's appointees will vote to remove him.
Independent readers might recall one controversial incident involving Jindal, Lombardi and the LSU System board that hit close to home. In mid-2010, the board voted to replace the newly appointed chairman of the New Orleans University Medical Center Management Corporation Board, Lafayette attorney Elaine Abell, only days after she was named to the key post by Lombardi. The Jindal administration's fingerprints were all over that decision, too, which replaced Abell with Robert Yarborough, a Baton Rouge businessman and at the time the most recent Jindal appointee on the board. Read more here.