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With 21 trustee vacancies to fill at 11 universities, Charlie Crist’s power to appoint becoming best tool to shore up support

in Statewide by
With an insurgent candidate on his right challenging him for his party’s nomination for the U.S. Senate, Charlie Crist has an array of political tools at his disposal to shore up support for his administration — and his candidacy.

At Crist’s disposal are 21 trustee vacancies at Florida’s 11 public universities, which the governor intends to fill over the next three months, according to a report in the Tallahassee Democrat that cites higher-education officials and Sterling Ivey, a spokesman for Crist.

As Angeline Taylor reports: each of the 11 state universities has a 13-member board of trustees. Trustees receive no pay, but they are reimbursed for travel and expenses. Trustees are appointed by Crist and the Board of Governors, the committee that oversees the State University System. The appointments are contingent upon Senate confirmation.

Representatives from the Board of Governors will interview applicants this month. The board has a subcommittee dedicated to nominating trustee candidates.

“Two to three (subcommittee members) will be assigned to each institution,” said university-system spokesman Bill Edmonds. “Those members will recommend names to the full (Board of Governors) committee.”

On Oct. 20, the Board of Governors will vote on the selections. They must pick 21 trustees before Jan. 6 for nearly all the public universities. Florida A&M University has only one position the Board of Governors must fill.

“Most of the appointments do not take effect until the end of the year/beginning of next year,” Ivey said. “It will most likely be later this year before they are announced.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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