USM: $457,000 Worth of Presidential Foolishness
Reuben Mees of the Hattiesburg American has now picked up the story, first featured here on June 19, of the purposely delayed announcement of $107,000 in legal fees arising from Shelby Thames' attempt to fire Frank Glamser and Gary Stringer.
After adding the two years of salary and benefits for each senior faculty member that were mandated in the settlement that the Mississippi IHL Board of Trustees imposed in April 2004, the price tag for a single fit of presidential rage mounts up to $457,000. (And the cost of substitute instructors to cover Glamser and Stringer's courses, after they were suspended in the middle of a semester, has yet to be factored in).
Now that the Board has declared Thames a lame duck, the revelation should give many of his erstwhile supporters a way of distancing themselves from his failed presidency. Mees quotes one of the organizers of the pro-Thames pep rally at the Warren Paving Company:
Alumna and Thames supporter Bonnie Drews said she was shocked to learn of the extent of the legal fees from the case.
"Wow. That's something way out of my sphere of information and I doubt if very many alumni are in that loop either," she said."I doubt if very many people at all know about this."
This is not the message that Bonnie Drews was giving out three months ago. Plenty of those who agitated to keep Thames in control of the University of Southern Mississippi could fairly say that he and his public relations operatives were lying to them. It is to be hoped that others will follow her lead.
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