The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

January 9, 2014

New MSSU board appointment ends chairman’s tenure on panel

— The newest appointee to the Missouri Southern State University Board of Governors will take over an expired term currently held by the chairman of the board, Gov. Jay Nixon’s office said Thursday.

Tracy Combs Flanigan, an attorney from Carthage who was appointed Wednesday to the board, will fill the term held by Chairman Richard Walter, according to Scott Holste, the governor’s press secretary.

The term held by Walter, a retired Joplin resident who has served on the board since November 2007 and as chairman since June, expired in August.

Walter, an independent, said Thursday afternoon that he wasn’t expecting to see his post filled by a new board member so suddenly. He said he had hoped to serve on the board longer, as he is co-chairman of the 12-person committee that is to guide the search for the university’s next president. He is writing up a charge for the committee that the board is expected to adopt at its Jan. 17 meeting.

“I wanted to see it further along,” he said.

Lynn Ewing, the board’s vice chairman, said he anticipates becoming the acting board chairman.

“Under the bylaws — I’ll confirm — the vice chairman moves into the chairman’s position until the board acts to consider who the new chair should be,” he said.

As for the presidential search committee, Sherry Buchanan, who is co-chairing the search group, said she thinks Walter could still be involved if the new board chairman appoints him to continue serving on it.

“It is an ad hoc committee, so this change doesn’t necessarily change Mr. Walter’s status on that committee if Mr. Ewing chooses,” she said.

With Flanigan’s appointment and Walter’s departure, the board will consist of four Democrats and three Republicans. The Democrats are Ewing, of Nevada; Buchanan and Jim Fleischaker, both of Joplin; and Rod Anderson, of Monett. The Republicans are Flanigan; Keith Hankins, of Stockton; and Mitch McCumber, of Noel.

Anderson is serving a term that expired in September 2009. There also will remain a vacancy for an eighth member of the board, which according to its bylaws should be made up of eight voting members serving six-year terms and one nonvoting student member serving a two-year term. State law requires that no more than four members of any one party be on the board at any one time.

Other posts

SCOTT HOLSTE, the press secretary for Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, said he had no specific information Thursday regarding the filling of the other board posts for which terms have expired. “We continue to try to work and fill vacancies as expediently as possible across the board,” he said.

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