Alvin Kimble, a member of the flagship system’s governing board, told the newspaper Lombardi was asked by some board members to resign but refused. Kimble says Lombardi told him Thursday of the impending firing, according to the paper.
The move would end a rocky tenure that began with much jubilation in the summer of 2007 but has since been marked by struggles over priorities and budgeting within the multicampus system. ...Read the T-P story here.
Kimble said Lombardi’s refusal will force the board majority, most of them appointed by Gov. Bobby Jindal, to take a public vote to remove him. Lombardi was hired when the board was controlled by appointees of governors Kathleen Blanco and Mike Foster.
“I certainly hope we get some answers for why they want to do this,” Kimble said, adding that pressure on Lombardi has mounted from members of the Flagship Coalition, a group of business and civic leaders who want LSU’s Baton Rouge campus to be clearly identified — and supported financially — as the state’s top higher education priority.
Political pressure from the Jindal Administration is behind Lombardi’s ouster, Kimble said. “John is very single-minded; he does what he thinks is best for the university without having any concern for the politics... He hasn’t made friends with the administration.”Independent readers might recall one controversial incident involving Jindal, Lombardi and the LSU System board that hit close to home. In mid-2010, the board voted to replace the newly appointed chairman of the New Orleans University Medical Center Management Corporation Board, Lafayette attorney Elaine Abell, only days after she was named to the key post by Lombardi. The Jindal administration’s fingerprints were all over that decision, too, which replaced Abell with Robert Yarborough, a Baton Rouge businessman and at the time the most recent Jindal appointee on the board. Read more here.
Kimble said he expects most of former Gov. Kathleen Blanco’s appointments to the board will not support Lombardi’s termination, while most or all of Jindal’s appointees will vote to remove him.