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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Tx Southern regents want new interim leader

Texas Southern University regents are making plans to replace interim President J. Timothy Boddie Jr. — possibly with the chairman of its governing board — before classes resume next month, officials familiar with the matter said Friday.

The expected departure of Boddie, a retired U.S. Air Force brigadier general, would mark the third shake-up in campus leadership since the board's predecessors fired President Priscilla Slade amid a spending scandal 14 months ago.

The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Glenn Lewis, the board's chairman since May and a former state representative from Fort Worth, is the leading candidate to replace Boddie. He would likely serve up to one year while the regents search for a permanent president.

When asked about the possible scenario, Lewis would not confirm or deny it. "There is not a whole lot I can say," he said. "The board has to act."

The idea of a second interim president troubled some lawmakers and community leaders, but others said the time had come for a change. Boddie could not be reached for comment.

Boddie has earned high marks for helping to persuade lawmakers to provide enough emergency money for the university to pay its bills and make repairs to aging and poorly constructed buildings.

"General Boddie restored some credibility, but we need a different set of skills now," Regent Gary Bledsoe said. "We need to give the new (permanent) president every chance to excel, and so we have to do some heavy lifting first."

Last week, the regents hired a second interim chief financial officer, replacing former U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development CFO Carin Barth with Billy Owens, who sorted out the money mess at Grambling State University.


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