Legislature approves 9 candidates for University’s Board of Regents

A DFL push to place former Sen. Roger Moe – who was not recommended – on the University’s governing board failed.

by Kari Petrie

Despite several attempts by DFL lawmakers to elect former state senator and gubernatorial candidate Roger Moe to the University’s Board of Regents, legislators approved all regent recommendations made by a joint House-Senate higher education committee last week.

Moe, who was a candidate for the 7th District’s seat, failed to earn the committee’s recommendation Wednesday.

“I think (the vote for Moe) was out of support of their former colleague, Senator Moe,” said Rep. Doug Stang, R-Cold Spring.

Clyde Allen Jr., who was nominated instead of Moe, eventually was elected to the board.

The push for Moe’s selection occurred during a joint legislative meeting to appoint three new regents and confirm four other regents named by former Gov. Jesse Ventura.

Allen serves as board chairman of the Finance and Gaming Committee of Prairie Public Broadcasting. He was also treasurer and vice president for business affairs at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn.

Patricia Simmons and John Forbenius were also named to seats for the 1st and 6th Districts, respectively.

Simmons, a pediatrician and executive at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., is chairwoman of a board responsible for creating new business.

“I am so honored and so excited and ready to go,” Simmons said.

Forbenius is the former president of St. Cloud Hospital and former co-president of CentraCare Health System.

“I’m looking forward Ö to the interaction with the variety of new and interesting people,” Forbenius said.

The next step for the newly appointed regents is to attend a series of three or four six-hour orientation days within the next month. University officials said the new regents will meet with the institution’s vice presidents, general council and University President Robert Bruininks. Regents will be schooled on the University’s budget, financial and academic issues before their March 13 and 14 meetings.

Regents Maureen Reed and David Metzen won their bids for re-election. Reed replaced Jean Keffeler, who lost her at-large position at the committee meeting. Reed lost her seat to Forbenius, but was nominated for Keffeler’s seat by Sen. Michele Bachmann, R-Stillwater.

Metzen retained his 4th District position after not receiving his district’s recommendation.

The Legislature also made official the appointments of Regents Richard McNamara, Frank Berman and Lakeesha Ransom, who Ventura appointed in July 2001.

While legislators confirmed Regent Peter Bell’s October 2002 appointment, several legislators voted against him because of his role as chairman of the Metropolitan Council – a regional planning agency serving the Twin Cities metro area.

Sen. Lawrence Pogemiller, DFL-Minneapolis, said Bell’s appointment to two high-profile positions denies other Minnesotans an opportunity to serve the public.

“I don’t think he should have two bites of the apple,” he said.

The 12-member Board of Regents is responsible for governing the University. The board approves long-range policies and programs and the University’s annual budget. Regents serve six-year terms and are not paid.