UH regents call special meeting to vote on interim president

Published On: Jul 23 2013 05:45:00 PM HST

"I am mystified," said J.N. Musto, the head of the University of Hawaii faculty union.

Musto didn’t see it coming.

 The regents announced today they are poised to take action on the appointment of David Lassner as acting president to replace MRC Greenwood, who leaves next month.

Lassner is the UH chief information officer and has worked at the university for 36 years.

Last week, it was expected that the regents would announce the choice of the committee.

 Musto believed John Morton, the head of the Community College system, was the leading contender and would be named.

But the announcement didn't happen.

"We did have a good discussion on this issue. We need to do some more vetting and we expect to have a decision very soon," said regents board chairman John Holtzman.

Both Morton and Lassner left last week’s meeting -- with little to go on about what was discussed behind closed doors.

UH Spokeswoman Lynne Waters could not say when regents met again to make the decision to make public Lassner's possible appointment.

In any case, whoever is named to the post will have his work cut out for him.

"Whether the interim is John Morton, or David Lassner, in either case the job is going to require more than just caretaking," said Musto.

Musto is hoping to press for a union contract, even though the labor agreement isnt up until 2015.

And ths past session, lawmakers did not fund the remaining pay raises in the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly's contract.

"There is also a pressing issue about the relationship between the board of regents and the university administration and the political leadership of our state that is a huge issue," said Musto.

 The last interim president, David McClain, served as a stabilizing force for five years, after a tumultuous time under former president Evan Dobelle.

The question is, if Lassner is appointed, can he smooth over feathers with the governor’s office, and the senate and house.

“He is certainly is capable to take part in a community and political conversation, and I hope they allow him to do that as interim president," Musto said.

 The board meeting is set for July 30, at 2 p.m. at Bachman Hall.



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