Consolidation talk stalled but Floyd says it’s still a go

Friday, December 12, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 11:07 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

KANSAS CITY — MU will not lose the position of chancellor, but neither will it begin a search yet for a person to fill the post after Richard Wallace retires.

That was the only solid decision UM system President Elson Floyd announced Thursday during a long-anticipated presentation to curators on the potential consolidation of MU and the UM system’s administrative offices.

Controversy surrounding former MU basketball player Ricky Clemons and his recorded jail conversations shifted public attention from consolidation, which was originally scheduled for curators’ action but was changed to an informational item on the agenda.

Floyd, however, said the Clemons flap had nothing to do with the consolidation discussion.

Floyd told curators the positions of UM system president and MU chancellor must be kept separate because they serve much different purposes. Still, he said, one person could hold both jobs.

“It’s absolutely necessary to remain with the title of president of the University of Missouri System as well as chancellor of the Columbia campus,” Floyd said. He added that organizational similarities between the two administrations will be addressed.

Floyd said he will develop a strategy for how to merge administrative positions before making a final decision. MU Provost Brady Deaton said some administrative offices might be streamlined even if the president and chancellor positions are occupied by different people.

Talk of merging the MU and UM administrations began in July when Wallace announced he would retire at the end of the school year. Wallace has spent most of his time since that announcement focusing on fund raising.

Meanwhile, Floyd has used the past several months to research how to eliminate redundancies in the administration and told the MU Faculty Council on Tuesday that consolidation could save the university system anywhere from $500,000 to $4.3 million per year. There had been widespread speculation that Floyd might add the job of MU chancellor to his own workload.

No search for a chancellor will begin until a decision on consolidation is made. Curators President Connie Silverstein said plenty of time remains to find a replacement for Wallace if the board decides to go that direction.

Wallace said Deaton, who already handles most of the day-to-day responsibilities of the job at MU, would be the perfect person to succeed him.

Courtney Miget and Amanda Burke contributed to this report

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