Ex prof tackles term trustee term limits

Mackenzie Airey and Daniel Salomon

A former secretary of the Maryland Higher Education Commission on Aug. 6 called for the AACC Board of Trustees to have term limits. 

In an opinion column for The Capital-Gazette, Patricia Florestano, a former member of the University of Maryland System Board of Regents, said she “strongly supports” a proposal by AACC professor emeritus E. Joseph Lamp for the governor to institute term limits for future trustees. 

AACC’s Board of Trustees includes eight members whose tenures have ranged from one to 34 years. The trustees are appointed by the governor for six-year terms, but they may be reappointed indefinitely. 

“I don’t look at that as term limits at all,” Lamp said. “That sounds to me like there’s some way that you could simply allow somebody to continue as long as they wanted to. I would absolutely, vehemently disagree with that.” 

Lamp made his proposal in a column for The Capital-Gazette after the trustees  declined his request to name a room in Truxal Library after the school’s first librarian, Harry Foster, and to rename the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame after Dr. John Laycock, AACC’s first athletic director. 

Carey Laycock, Laycock’s granddaughter, worked with Lamp on the request. “We didn’t even ask them to pay for it,” Laycock said. “Joe Lamp and I were going to pay for it. Pay for the signage and pay for it to be hung with our own money, and they still denied it. [The trustees] are all in cahoots.”  

Florestano pointed to USM’s term limits for regents, who may serve two, five-year terms. 

“Most places … have put in term limits … so that you get the benefit of really good citizens, and you also get the benefit of turnover and fresh ideas,” said Florestano, who was married to former AACC President Thomas E. Florestano, who died in 2012. The Florestano building on the Arnold campus is named for him. 

“The principle of turnover has been a part of bringing new ideas, innovation [and] diversity to these boards” she said. “And in Maryland—for as long as I’m aware—we have never had term limits on our boards for [the] 16, two-year colleges.”  

Chairman Lawrence W. Ulvila Jr. of AACC’s Board of Trustees noted that it would be up to the state Legislature to limit trustees’ terms. “It’s not something that we control,” he said. 

Ulvila said he has served on multiple local boards, most of which have term limits. “Most organizations do, but the college does not,” he said, “and that’s just because it’s part of the state’s statute.”