Two board hopefuls for alumni seats seek reform of Penn State trustees

mdawson@centredaily.comFebruary 1, 2013 

Two men who have worked behind the scenes over the past year calling for reform to Penn State’s board of trustees are going a step further.

Scott Kimler, an organizer with Penn Staters for Reforming the Board of Trustees, and David Mullaly, who organized two rallies asking university leaders to step down last year, have announced they will run for election to one of the three seats elected by alumni.

Both men said, in announcing their campaigns separately, that they have no agenda other than reforming the board of trustees that was besieged by criticism for its handling of the Jerry Sandusky scandal fallout.

Kimler, a former corporate manager in the oil industry who lives in Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada, said he his focus is improving the board’s governance. He is on the executive committee of the reform group, which came together in the wake of the board’s handling of the Sandusky scandal in November 2011.

“My focus will be to look at ways to improve governance, carefully weigh ongoing issues and work toward making Penn State governance a role model for other institutions,” said Kimler, 53, who is now self-employed as a Web developer.

Kimler echoes some reform recommendations put forth by Jack Wagner, then-state auditor general, late last year. Among them are removing the governor and the university president as a voting trustee and making it difficult for trustees to step into high-ranking university positions. Kimler supports reducing the size of the board, which has 32 trustees, including eliminating some of the trustees’ seats that are appointed by the governor because state funding has gone down.

Mullaly, a retired schoolteacher, said he thinks the current alumni-elected trustees have ignored the anger, disgust and disappointment felt by alumni after the events of late 2011 and 2012.

“Penn State needs better representation than the current members have provided,” said Mullaly, 64, of Annapolis, Md. “And the alumni need advocacy which reflects their perspectives. Although I would guess that many of the candidates might be aggressive alumni trustees, I know that I would be — and I think that all of the alums who have seen what I’ve organized and articulated know that as well.”

More than 1,000 people attended the Rally for Resignations that Mullaly staged on a Saturday in September last year, and among the crowd were people like former Nittany Lion and NFL Hall of Fame running back Franco Harris as well as freshman trustee Anthony Lubrano, who catalyzed the alumni anger into winning a seat for the board last year.

“Right after the NCAA sanctions were announced — and it seemed like Penn Staters were crushed or paralyzed by the recent events — I decided that Penn Staters needed to begin to stand up for the university and its best interests,” Mullaly said. “I spent literally hundreds of hours organizing one rally engaging approximately 1,000 people, and then followed that with another smaller one.”

Candidates for an alumni-elected seat on the board of trustees must collect 50 nominations by Feb. 25 to appear on the ballot.

The ballots will be released on April 10, and voting goes through the morning of May 2.

The results will be announced at the board’s May meeting on campus.

The incumbents are Stephanie Deviney, a Philadelphia-area lawyer, and local orthopedic surgeon Paul Suhey. The third open seat was the one held by Steve Garban, the former university administrator and board chairman who resigned in July.

Mike Dawson can be reached at 231-4616. Follow him on Twitter @MikeDawsonCDT.

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