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Morgan McphersonSAY NO TO MCPHERSON FOR MAYOR

ITS TIME FOR A CHANGE AND WE NEED MORGAN MCPHERSON OUT OF MAYORS OFFICE. MCPHERSON IS PART OF THE GOOD OLD BOY NETWORK AND HE RELLY SHOWS IT.

PAGE ONE COMMENTARY: Mayor McPherson Instrumental in Fixing Vote at College
HE TELLS KWTN, “I NEVER TALKED TO THE GOVERNOR ABOUT APPOINTING MY SISTER TO FKCC BOARD.” HE DIDN’T. HE ASKED AN INFLUENTIAL FRIEND TO DO IT
by Dennis Reeves Cooper

What can we say about what happened at our little college this week? The young and beautiful president, hired only a little more than two years ago with much fanfare and high expectations, was forced to accept a nine-month paid sabbatical (until the end of her contract) to avoid being fired by what would have probably been a 3-2 vote of the college’s board of trustees. Those three trustees appear to have been persuaded to fire the president by a relatively small number of college staff members. These staff members complained that the president was “really mean.”

Note that we said staff, not faculty. The faculty— those at the college who teach the students— overwhelmingly supported the president. And they did it in writing. After a faculty meeting last week the full-time faculty submitted to the board of trustees a formal vote of confidence in the president.

Students past and present have also been very vocal in their support of the president, which make sense since her highest priority was known to be transforming Florida Keys Community College (FKCC) to a student-focused institution. Makes perfect sense at a college, right? But that had not been the case at FKCC for decades.


When the president was hired back in 2007, she was tasked first with addressing low student morale, faculty walkouts, and high rates of student attrition. These were challenges few thought could be corrected in a year, or even two. But she did it. She did it so well, in fact, that she was accused of causing a revolution. “We only needed an evolution, ” one trustee said.

Here is just a partial list of her accomplishments in just two years:

• Ten years of hemorrhaging students was reversed and enrollment is now booming at FKCC.

• A new marine tech building is a reality.

• She brought nearly $2 million dollars in private gifts to the college foundation.

• She garnered $2.8 million in federal appropriations.

• The marine tech facility and new programs attracted additional world-class faculty, including renowned shark expert, Dr. Patrick Rice, who could teach anywhere on the planet, but chose FKCC.

• Despite the tough economic conditions, faculty and staff at FKCC received the largest salary increases in the statewide community college system.

• In two years, FKCC has gone from a laughing stock, on the verge of losing accreditation, to the fastest growing community college in the state.

So how did the board of trustees reward the lady president for these accomplishments? They just pushed her out.

Many in the community are embarrassed by the behavior of the board of trustees— apparently more concerned with Bubba politics than education. I mentioned earlier that had a vote been taken to fire the president this week, she probably would have been fired by a 3-2 vote of the trustees.

But we now know that this vote may have been fixed by the mayor of Key West, Morgan McPherson. We told you last week that he had used his influence with the governor to get his sister— Antoinette McPherson Martin— appointed to the college board of trustees several months ago.

She would have been the swing vote to fire the president.

Mayor McPherson called me this week and denied that he had ever talked to the governor about appointing his sister to the board. And I left his office convinced that he was telling me the truth.

And he was. But I had not asked the right question. The followup question I should have asked was: “If you didn’t talk to the governor yourself, about appointing your sister to the FKCC board of trustees, did you ask a friend to do it?”

Indeed, that is what Mayor McPherson did, according to a well-researched article by Mandy Bolen that was published in the Key West Citizen just last August 23.

Bolen wrote that McPherson asked a friend, Rodney Barreto, to recommend his sister’s appointment to the FKCC board to Governor Charlie Crist. Barreto has the governor’s ear. He is chairman of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and has chaired Crist campaign committees. He accompanied Crist during his recent trip to the Keys to meet with the school board.

According to Bolen, Barreto sent Crist a one-sentence email recommending Martin.

That was reportedly the only recommendation she received. But it was apparently enough. Among those passed over for the appointment was Key West resident Ann Reynolds, an Alabama university president for five years and a chancellor overseeing community colleges in New York for seven years. She was endorsed by U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

Martin is a local psychologist. Go figure.

We don’t know what’s going to happen at the college now. But whatever happens, and whoever is eventually hired as the new president, the staff at the college now know how to get rid of the new guy, too, if they want to.

Sad but true.


SAY NOT ON ELECTION DAY TO MORGAN MCPHERSON

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