Gov. Kathleen Blanco announced in March she wouldn't seek re-election. In late April, UL Lafayete President Dr. Ray Authement announced his retirement. The UL System began a nationwide, intense search to find the new, innovative leader for UL. (Faculty and staff have a different perspective ' that hell or high water, the new president would be an insider anointed by the "Good Ole Boys" ' and would be either T Joe Savoie or Steve Landry.)

UL System President Sally Clausen decided to employ an "innovative" and transparent approach, which published personal and professional information for each candidate on the system's Web site. Was this an effort toward transparency or merely a stunt to ensure that no truly qualified candidate would apply? By September, only 28 people had applied for the position, but no insiders. As the deadline drew to a close, in came the saviors ' Savoie and Landry.

Five finalists were selected, and two were insiders. When the interviews were held on campus, Savoie said he wasn't sure if he wanted to keep his old job as higher education commissioner rather than this new one, and Landry was unsure if he would try to keep his current job as academic vice president if he didn't get the president's job, giving some explanation about not closing doors.

Finally, it's decision time: the search committee has to submit a name to the UL Board of Supervisors. Two of the five finalists made the committee's job less complicated by withdrawing from consideration. But something strange is going on: faculty, business leaders, alumni and others in Acadiana are questioning the entire search process. Has this been a farce all along? Was it merely an anointment process, or is there a legitimate search going on?

Then the search committee had to decide on its nominee to the board. Like many appointed public bodies in Louisiana do when facing a controversial decision, they did nothing. They merely passed the hot potato on to the board by sending the last three candidates standing ' one outsider and two insiders ' on to the big guys. What do you think the odds are on this race?

Let's get real. In April everyone knew the outcome of the "search" would result in the anointment of an insider. Months later, after wasting a tremendous amount of time and money, we find ourselves right back where we started, anointing an insider.

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