Archive for June, 2011

Cofer Out as Missouri State Prez


James Cofer has resigned (or has been fired) as President of Missouri State University. He was former President of the University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM).

President Cofer announces plan to return to faculty

Monday, June 27, 2011

Dr. James E. Cofer, Sr.In order to more fully devote his time and energy “to helping students in a more meaningful way,” Missouri State University’s 10th President, Dr. James E. Cofer Sr., is relinquishing his duties as president and returning to the faculty. He will officially relinquish the position of president on July 31, 2011.

The Missouri State Board of Governors met yesterday (June 26) and accepted Cofer’s proposed transition to the faculty.

“We knew from the time he interviewed just how much Dr. Cofer enjoyed working with students,” said Board Chair Elizabeth Bradbury, “so we understand his desire to return to the faculty. We anticipate that he will be outstanding in his new faculty role, and our students will benefit greatly from his contributions.

“The university accomplished much under Dr. Cofer’s leadership. The new long-range plan was successfully completed. He initiated a review of the General Education Curriculum, expanded the campus’s thinking about ways in which to offer courses, and he pushed for greater emphasis on student learning outcomes.

“Dr. Cofer gave the internal budget process greater transparency while involving many on campus. In response to the state auditor’s report on Missouri State, he helped strengthen university policies and practices, and he organized a task force to review and make recommendations about JQH Arena. He was a strong advocate for faculty and staff pay raises, and as a result the university granted a large number of increases despite challenging state finances. And, of course, his financial expertise was invaluable in managing and developing the university’s finances.”

Cofer was named president on May 14, 2010, and officially began his duties on Aug. 1, 2010. He came to Missouri State after more than eight years as president of the University of Louisiana-Monroe.

“Last month as I began preparing a summary of our progress on the nine goals we established this year,” Cofer said, “I began to stop and reflect on what was accomplished. We opened up the budget process, we balanced the budget without cutting the academic departments even in light of the state appropriation reductions, and we gave equity raises to 40 percent of the faculty and started the process of raising the pay grades and salaries for staff, and we finished the 2011-2016 long-range plan. All laudable accomplishments, but I realized as I reviewed our year that I had not personally connected to, listened to and helped students in a meaningful way. I was not connected the way I wanted with the students on campus. I also realized that the rigor of my schedule and all the demands on me as president would not allow me to change that result.

“I deeply believe in what we are doing in higher education and what we are doing at Missouri State University and that is educating people regardless of background or economic status or ethnicity or religion. I believe that education is the great equalizer for those who come to our campus and really desire to succeed and lead a better life. My belief is that we owe it to ourselves and, most importantly, we owe it to our students to give them the best we have regardless of our place at the university. At this particular time, I believe that the position necessary to best serve Missouri State is one closely tied to the classroom and working with students much more directly than in the past.

“In that light, the Board of Governor’s has agreed for me to transition back to the classroom as provided in my contract. My plan is to take next year and work with my colleagues across the country and here at MSU to sharpen up my teaching and research skills so that I can return to the classroom in the fall of 2012. The agreement with the Board also moves the appropriate funds into the College of Business to support my position so that the college is not penalized for receiving a former administrator on the faculty. A procedure that I hope will be followed by future administrations.

“I am confident that the leadership on campus, especially on the Board and the faculty, will make the necessary changes in the administration for the institution to continue to not only survive but to thrive.

“I know this may seem sudden to many of you, but it is not. I sincerely hope that you understand and respect my decision. It is not one that I take lightly or made without talking to the Board and my closest personal advisors.

“It has been a pleasure to serve as your president this year and it will be equally an honor to move up to the faculty.”

Cofer will return to the faculty of the College of Business Administration as a tenured full professor effective Aug. 1. He will be paid 60 percent of his current base salary of $275,000 according to his contract, which will be $165,000 per year. The university will transfer appropriate funds to the College of Business Administration to cover the salary and other expenses associated with a tenured professor’s teaching and research activities.

In addition, the agreement calls for a one-time payment of deferred income accrued in the amount of $50,000, plus he will continue to receive his housing allowance of $45,000 for one year. All other additional benefits included in his contract (courtesy car, country club membership, etc.) will cease.

“The Board is very grateful for Dr. Cofer’s service as our president,” Bradbury concluded, “and in particular for his dedication to our students and to advancing the cause of their education.”

From The (Springfield, MO) News-Leader

Today’s news follows an unusual Board of Governors meeting Sunday. The Board announced this morning it accepted Cofer’s plan yesterday at that meeting.

Sources previously told the News-Leader that the board had been conducting an evaluation of Cofer.

Such annual evaluations are part of Cofer’s presidential contract. This year’s evaluation, which began at a closed door meeting of the Board held June 17, continued with phone calls last week with Springfield community leaders, who were asked to talk about Cofer’s involvement and relationship with the community.

At the news conference, Cofer said his relationship with the board has been cordial. Asked if the annual review had anything to do with his decision, he said it had helped him reflect.

Douglas for Sheriff Fundraiser Thursday


The Cam Douglas for Sheriff campaign will be hosting a fundraiser Thursday night at the home of Robert Colvin.

See here the invitation.

If any of the other candidates for Sheriff of Ouachita Parish would like to send us their fundraising invitations, announcements, etc. we will gladly post them.

Monroe City Council Tuesday Night


The City Council for the City of Monroe will meet in regular session, Tuesday, June 28, 6:00 PM, City Hall, 400 Lea Joiner Expressway.

See here the agenda.

Among the items to be discussed is another change order – the fifteenth – for the Monroe Regional Airport project, and the appointment of The (Monroe) News-Star as the city’s official journal.

Higher Ed Roundup – 6/27/11


University of La. at Monroe receives top rating in review

Your Mail: Not the same LC

Don’t forget TOPS is in TOPS amendment

Ouachita Sheriff Candidate’s Websites


Several of the candidates for Sheriff of Ouachita Parish have put up websites to tout their candidacies. We’ve found three so far. If anyone finds more, please post a link in the comments section.

Chief Jay Russell Sheriff
Cam Douglas for Sheriff
Larry Laborde for Sheriff of Ouachita Parish

Budget Talk Dominates Jonesboro Meeting


Last night’s meeting of the Town of Jonesboro’s board of aldermen was mostly about next year’s budget. About an hour of the hour-and-a-half long meeting was spent reviewing many of the line items of the document.

Total revenues and expenses for the general fund budget are estimated at $3,049,250.00.

One area of discussion was the streets account.

District B’s Renee Stringer questioned why only $75 thousand was allotted to street repair and maintenance in an overall budget of over $900 thousand. Mayor Leslie Thompson admitted, “We may not do too much street repair” this year.

Another question asked was whether money that had come from a $169 thousand certificate of deposit (CD) cashed last February had been replaced. The mayor said it had not, but claimed that money had been “set aside” to do that.

A $10 thousand line item for entertainment and marketing was also questioned. Thompson said he wanted to do another town concert, and that it may be Country & Western or Raggae themed.

“I surely want for the people of Jonesboro to be able to have some of the same kinds of outings or opportunities to go to,” Thompson said.

Earlier in the meeting, a resolution approving an exchange deed between the town and O’Neal Gas for land adjacent to the Greater North Louisiana Community Development Corporation (GNLCDC) was approved. The parcel is part of the acreage involved in a land deal between the town and GNLCDC that has bee a source of controversy for nearly a year.

The resolution passed on a 3-1 vote, with Stringer voting no.

Also at the meeting, a resolution was passed setting the property tax millage rates for the tax year 2011. The rates are the same as last year.

We will next week be getting copies of the general fund budget, enterprise budget and the tax millage resolution and will post them when received.

The next meeting of the council will be Thursday, June 30, when a 5:00 PM public hearing will be held for public comment on the budget.

Tangipahoa Schools Update – 6/25/11


Plaintiffs push desegregation

The plaintiffs in Tangipahoa Parish’s 46-year-old school desegregation case have asked a federal judge to force the school system to implement a court-ordered desegregation plan despite voters’ rejection of the taxes to fund it, court filings show.

The motion, filed Friday in U.S. District Court in New Orleans, claims that the School Board misled the court about funds available to implement the plan.

Higher Ed Roundup – 6/25/11


GSU’s Pogue charts his progression

SU board approves pay deal

Mayor Landrieu urges N.O. campuses to cooperate

Jonesboro Agenda


See here the agenda for tonight’s meeting of Jonesboro’s Board of Aldermen. Several items are additional to the budget discussion.

7. Budget
8. Adopt the millage rate(s) for the property tax year 2011
9. Abatement/Nuisance
10. Gasoline Bid Process
11. Vehicle Mileage Ordinance
12. GNLCDC Exchange Deed Ratification
13. Correction of land Description

Jonesboro Board of Aldermen This Evening


The Town of Jonesboro’s Board of Aldermen will meet in special session this afternoon at 5:00 PM at the City Hall, 128 Allen Avenue. The proposed 2011-2012 budget is up for discussion.

Budget: 6/30/2011 – 6/30/2012
Ordinance 703: Amendment to 2010 – 2011 budget

As soon as we get an agenda, we will post it.