Tampa Bay Times
February 26, 2020
It’s that time of year again, when dark clouds over government-in-the-sunshine form in Tallahassee. And that means the Florida Legislature is renewing its annual effort to create more secrecy around the selection of presidents for the state’s colleges and universities. There still is absolutely no justification for sending a search process that needs more openness even further under ground.
This appears to be the most serious threat in years to openness surrounding the search process for college and university presidents. Similar bills that would create broad exemptions to public meetings and open records laws are ready for votes by the full House and Senate. With about two weeks left in the legislative session, it’s time for faculty members, students, the business community and the general public to tell legislators they want more openness, not less.
Sen. Manny Diaz, R-Hialeah, trotted out the same old arguments for secrecy Wednesday in the Senate Rules Committee, which passed the legislation on a 9-7 vote. He claimed seven recent searches for presidents at state universities did not attract a single president from a large university because they did not want their names to become public. Of course, there is no concrete evidence to support that claim.