Florida legislature considering bill that would close presidential searches

From Student Press Law Center: FLORIDA — A Florida representative has reintroduced a bill that, if enacted, would exempt public colleges from having to disclose the names of executive candidates.

Meetings where officials discuss identifying information of presidential, provost or dean candidates would also be exempt from the state’s open meetings act. Public colleges would be required to release the names of finalists at least 21 days before officials meet publicly to make a final selection. If passed, it would take effect Oct. 1, 2014.


Barbara Petersen, president of Florida’s First Amendment Foundation, said she has “no idea” why Kerner reintroduced the bill and said she hasn’t seen any evidence that the state’s public records and open meetings laws have made it difficult to find strong executives.

“To say we don’t get good candidates for these top positions because of our open government laws is pure hogwash,” she said. “Look at the presidents of our state universities, who were all hired under the sunshine, by the way. Can anyone say we could have done better? Who makes the final list is as important as who does not.”

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The Florida’s First Amendment Foundation is a member of NFOIC. –eds