Senate Appointments Awaited to Complete Rick Scott’s Higher Ed Panel

By: Jim Turner | Posted: May 9, 2012 3:55 AM
The governor’s blue ribbon panel to consider an overhaul of the state’s university and college system awaits a pair of appointments from the state Senate.

The seven-member panel, announced by Gov. Rick Scott on May 4 to assess the progress of prior reform efforts and identify where changes can be made, will have its first meeting later this month.

House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, has named Rep. Bill Proctor, R-St. Augustine to the panel, while House Speaker-designate Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, has designated Rep. Marlene O’Toole, R-Lady Lake.

Meanwhile, Dean Colson, Board of Governors' chairman, has appointed board member Joseph Caruncho, CEO of Preferred Care Partners, while Board of Governors' vice chairman, Mori Hosseni, has appointed John Delaney.

A request to the Senate office on the pending appointments by Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, and President-designate Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, was not immediately returned Tuesday.

Delaney has been president of the University of North Florida since 2003.

Proctor headed Cannon’s efforts in the 2012 legislative session to craft legislation that would boost the profile of the state’s universities.

O’Toole was a member of Proctor’s Higher Education Committee and a chair of the Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee.

Scott vetoed the bill on April 27 primarily because the proposal would have given universities the power to seek unlimited tuition increases to build nationally-touted science, technology, engineering and math programs.

The panel, which is expected to have a report ready for Scott by Nov. 15, is scheduled to hold its first meeting or meetings May 22 or May 29, with workshops held at university campus during June.

Reach Jim Turner at jturner@sunshinestatenews.com or at (772) 215-9889.

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