The Regents' Secret Deal

It's so obvious.
The Arizona Board of Regents' decision to drag out its court battle with the local daily newspapers is irresponsible. It's a waste of taxpayers' money. Worse, it only serves to delay and accentuate the inevitable verdict against it.

The Board of Regents was wrong to cloak the hiring of a new Arizona State University president in secrecy. If Governor Rose Mofford wasn't in on this shoddy process from the start, it would be a situation that would call for firing the whole board.

That's not such a bad idea, anyway.
I'd start with Herman Chanen. He is not on the board because he knows anything about education. He is there because he's the only Democrat in the state with any money to contribute to political campaigns. I'd proceed straight down the line to Andy Hurwitz, who made his mark in politics bending his knee for both Bruce Babbitt and Mofford.

I'd take special delight in giving the ax to the power-hungry Molly Broad, who seems to be in charge of hiring the lawyers to defend an indefensible position. Before she's through, Broad will have spent almost a quarter of a million dollars from taxpayers in a fight that has no ethical grounds.

The public has a right to know who is being hired to run one of the country's largest public educational institutions. More important, the public has a right to know if the hiring process proceeded honestly or was merely another Arizona back-room deal.

Mofford, as has been stated here before, is clearly the most inept governor in Arizona history. She is a classic case of the competent secretary being promoted twelve steps above her level of competence.

Each day that passes only serves to bolster that reputation. Unlike Evan Mecham, Mofford would find it impossible to stand up to impeachment proceedings. She would have to testify by telephone because she gets too nervous in front of crowds.

Mofford wouldn't fight the impeachment, she'd merely have her little darlings in the Department of Public Safety threaten everyone into silence.

This latest fiasco over the choosing of Lattie F. Coor to be president of Arizona State only serves to spotlight her inadequacy to hold the job.

The public was told that the Board of Regents conducted a nationwide search to find a new president. A Chicago firm was hired that charged thousands of dollars to do the job.

But all that turns out to be a smoke screen.
Coor was the man "discovered." At 52, Coor, who was born in Phoenix, is serving as president of the University of Vermont. Lattie F. Coor Elementary School was named for his father, a superintendent of schools here in Arizona for 36 years.

The younger Coor's adequacy for the ASU job is questionable. He is currently heading a public school with an enrollment of 11,000 where the athletic program is headed by the ski team. This university gave up football because it was too costly.

Vermont offers eighty athletic scholarships a year while Arizona State has more than 500 and a student body of 43,000. A recent New York Times interview with Coor pointed out the following:

"Dr. Coor has a nearly lifelong friendship with Bruce Babbitt, a former governor, and family ties to the current governor, Rose Mofford, who urged him to take the position at Arizona State." Clearly, this so-called nationwide search was settled in a single night during a dinner meeting at the Phoenician hotel between Chanen of the Board of Regents and Mofford.

The word had come from Babbitt that Coor was the man who should get the job. Mofford and Chanen merely agreed to follow their guru's suggestion.

Mofford told Chanen that night that she also wanted Coor to get the job because she knew his family. This is about as much logic as anyone can expect from this governor.

Let's get to the heart of the matter.
There was no search. Mofford, Chanen, and Babbitt handled the whole deal on their own.

This is their dirty little secret. This is the reason the Board of Regents is now willing to spend thousands in tax dollars.

There has already been an expensive public trial. Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Stover has ruled that the list of all applicants for the job should be released.

Babbitt took the stand at the trial and revealed himself as a bumbling and pompous fool before the cross-examination by David Bodney, the attorney from Brown and Bain who represented the public's interest.

Babbitt, in a memorable display of casuistry, droned on about the secret process being a way to reach out and get another Dwight Eisenhower.

Babbitt was speaking of Columbia University's hiring of the general to become its president after the second World War.

Babbitt failed to mention, either through inadvertence or ignorance, that Columbia hired Ike by mistake. They really wanted to get his brother, Milton, who was then a well-known Midwest educator.

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Tom Fitzpatrick

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