MARQUETTE - In a 6-2 vote Tuesday afternoon, Northern Michigan University's Board of Trustees approved the appointment of David Haynes as interim president of the university.
The motion contained no mention of a salary or contract for Haynes.
Trustees Gilbert Ziegler, of Charleviox, and Stephen Adamini, of Marquette, cast the two nay votes.
Board Vice Chairman Jack LaSalle, said, as an NMU alumnus, he was proud to vote to elect a fellow alum into the interim position - the first time that has happened in the history of the university.
"I think we need to move ahead. I think David Haynes is the guy to take us into the next phase of Northern Michigan University's future," LaSalle said.
LaSalle, Ziegler and Adamini were the only trustees in Marquette for the special meeting, with the rest of the board participating via conference call.
The split vote came after a contentious meeting that saw several motions fail, including a motion made by Adamini to allow faculty and administrators to address the board for one minute each.
The original motion concerning an interim president, made by LaSalle and seconded by Trustee L. Garnet Lewis, of Freeland, was "to approve an interim president."
The motion did not contain the name of the person the board would elect - and it failed, on a 4-4 vote.
Board Chairman Brian Cloyd of Grand Rapids, LaSalle, Lewis and Trustee H. Sook Wilkinson of Bloomfield Hills, all voted in favor of the measure.
A lengthy discussion took place between the making of that motion and the actual vote, in which Trustees Rick Popp of Northville, Wilkinson, Lewis, LaSalle and Stephen Gulis of Rockford all offered their approval of Haynes as a very capable interim president for the university.
However, Popp expressed concern at the reporting relationship between Haynes and Haynes' wife, Martha, who was promoted from executive director of the NMU Foundation to a newly created position of vice president of advancement during the board's meeting April 27.
With the promotion, Haynes became the university's third vice president. Her appointment came just under a week before her husband was announced as the "14th president of NMU," according to an NMU press release.
In an interview with the Mining Journal May 10, just after the original announcement of Haynes' appointment, Haynes said he would not evaluate his wife in any way.
Rather, her job performance would be reviewed by the chairs of the NMU Alumni Association, the NMU Foundation and the university Board of Trustees.
Haynes said his wife will still work closely with him on a daily basis as she is now a vice president of the university.
During Tuesday's meeting, both Adamini and Ziegler questioned the way in which Haynes was chosen as President Les Wong's successor and the speed at which it happened.
"Shouldn't we have expanded the search? I mean, what's the hurry?" Ziegler asked Cloyd.
Cloyd responded by saying "we need someone to guide the university," adding that the executive committee had already discussed the issue and intended to keep Haynes as interim "until we're ready to start a full search."
Lewis said the board would be remiss if it did not appoint an interim immediately to take charge on several university initiatives, including the current athletic director and provost searches, the university's branding study and the current labor negotiations with two NMU unions.
Adamini raised questions about Haynes work as Steelcase Inc.'s longtime lobbyist and working as Northern's lobbyist at the same time.
Cloyd is the vice president of global communications for Steelcase.
"If (Haynes) was in Lansing advocating on behalf of your (Cloyd's) company and also Northern Michigan University, I would have to be satisfied that there was a proportionate distribution of the cost accrued on that day," Adamini said.
Cloyd responded by saying he had always been open about Haynes involvement with Steelcase, and the company keeps a close eye on all Haynes' expenses.
"I've actually been very open about the relationship that Mr. Haynes has with Steelcase. I don't believe there was a meeting that has passed that in some way I've made some reference to the fact that he was the lobbyist for Steelcase," Cloyd said. "We actually closely monitor his expenses, the way he spends money, if anything, I would venture to guess that Steelcase has paid him for time that he's actually done work for Northern, but that's a separate issue."
In a review of the board's meeting minutes posted online, no mention was found of Haynes since September 2007. In several meetings prior to that date, Haynes is noted as the university's lobbyist.
Adamini said he felt he had no voice in choosing the interim president. He said though he'd heard mention of Haynes as a good choice to succeed Wong - specifically during the board's February retreat - he couldn't recall any conversation about the issue during an open meeting.
"As I recall, you Mr. Chairman and (Lewis) and Jack (LaSalle) all indicated to the rest that there was only one guy for the job and that was Mr. Haynes, and I didn't offer any comment up or down and I'm not saying Mr. Haynes isn't qualified to be president of the university, but I certainly thought that when we got to a place where we were actually deliberating - at that time I would offer my input," Adamini said. "At no time in an open meeting do I believe other members of this board, at a meeting in which we were deliberating toward making a decision, were given the opportunity to suggest other people."
Adamini then suggested former Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and Dean of Graduate Studies and Research Cynthia Prosen as a potential candidate. Ziegler also had a list of potential interim candidates, including former NMU Interim President Mike Roy.
Lewis called the question during the meeting twice, effectively ending discussion on the appointment of Haynes.
In other action, the board accepted Wong's resignation, effective May 10. The motion was made by Lewis, seconded by Wilkinson and unanimously accepted by the board.
Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.