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USF Poly split debate reveals competing versions of reality

Posted Feb 24, 2012 by Lindsay Peterson

Updated Feb 26, 2012 at 07:36 PM

After seeming to make peace with USF President Judy Genshaft earlier this week, Sen. JD Alexander defaulted to his angry, anti-USF line of argument in yesterday’s Senate debate on instant independence for USF Polytechnic.

One of the biggest outrages, he said, was that Genshaft pushed aside USF Polytechnic Chancellor Marshall Goodman.

Alexander has one version of what happened.

Sen. Paula Dockery gave another in her remarks in opposition to the independence plan – which passed.

The contrast offers a glimpse of the twisted nature of this issue. Key players have different versions of reality.

Alexander presented Goodman as the architect of the plan the state Board of Governors endorsed when it voted to make Poly independent, contingent on its meeting several benchmarks while still tied to USF.

Inexplicably, Genshaft fired Goodman, Alexander said. Then she replaced him with the “chief opponent” of the split, “a retired accountant” who then fired seven other administrators who had helped create the Poly business plan.

Now Dockery’s side:

Goodman had developed a reputation for high spending, “all kinds of ridiculous spending.”

The man who replaced him, David Touchton, was a certified public accountant and a “key cheerleader” for the original Polytechnic vision. What he opposed was the sudden split that Alexander advocated.

He was trying to save Poly money when he fired the administrators - one of whom was in India at the time recruiting students, she said.

“He’s devoted to saving taxpayers money on wasteful spending,” she said.

Earlier in the debate, Sen. Jim Norman tried to be something of a peacemaker.

“I know there was some bad blood, and Senator Alexander, maybe they drug their feet, maybe there was problems on both sides.
But I will tell you this,” Norman said. “I believe President Genshaft is being cooperative.”

It didn’t work.

But as they say….The truth is out there.

Stay tuned for more episodes of the Poly Files.

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