Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Scott Picks New Trustee

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Scott Picks New Trustee

Article excerpt

STATE COLLEGE OF FLORIDA: Move may not bode well for president's future

Gov. Rick Scott has appointed prominent local Republican Eric Robinson to fill an empty seat on the State College of Florida Board of Trustees, just as the board is set to decide the future of embattled President Lars Hafner.

Robinson is the husband of Sarasota County Commissioner Christine Robinson and a former chairman of the Sarasota County Republican Party. He also is a friend of Board of Trustees Chair Carlos Beruff, who has said Hafner is unfit to be president and must go.

Robinson's appointment could prove pivotal in whether Hafner will survive today's board meeting, when trustees are scheduled to discuss his job performance. In August, the board deadlocked 4-4 on a vote of no-confidence on Hafner's job performance.

Robinson, a Venice resident and a managing partner in a local chartered accountancy firm, listed Beruff as a reference in his application.

It was received by the governor's office on April 27, records show.

Robinson said he did not know why the governor's office had taken so long to act and that his ties to Beruff will not influence how he will vote.

"Simply because I know Carlos, you can't really read too much into it," he said. "I'm going to listen to the facts."

Trustee appointments must be confirmed by the Florida Senate at its next session, but appointees begin serving immediately.

That means providing that Robinson's oath of office affidavit is processed by the Florida Division of Elections, he could take his seat at this evening's meeting and his first vote could be whether to fire Hafner.

Robinson said he has some knowledge of SCF from his wife, who served on the college's board.

Both Robinsons are political heavyweights in the GOP party. One of former Gov. Charlie Crist's final decisions in office was the December 2010 appointment of Christine Robinson as a Sarasota County commissioner to replace Shannon Staub, who resigned with two years left on her term. …

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