Nov 102008
Authors: Elyse Jarvis

Under pressure from students, faculty and staff, the CSU System Board of Governors urged former CSU President Larry Penley to remove John Lincoln — Penley’s No. 2 as senior executive vice president — two months prior to his resignation, a BOG spokesperson said Monday.

Over the course of several months, the BOG had received numerous reports expressing concern regarding Lincoln’s management style, said Michele McKinney, who speaks on behalf of the BOG headquarters in Denver.

McKinney did not discuss specifics about the nature of the complaints but said the board reached a “consensus” that Lincoln be let go and “they communicated that to President Penley.”

“(The board’s) decision to let (Lincoln) go was given to the president based on feedback . from colleagues, faculty, students and staff that Lincoln was not helping things move as smoothly as they could have,” McKinney said.

Penley, in an announcement to the CSU community last month, commended Lincoln for a strong history of leadership with CSU, as Lincoln had moved quickly into the No. 2 position in only four years.

“(Lincoln) has accomplished all I have asked him to do, and I wish (him) the best of luck as he begins to move into semi-retirement,” Penley said in an e-mail that announced Lincoln’s retirement to campus officials.

Penley announced Lincoln’s transition into “semi-retirement” four days before its effective date of Oct. 21 and said that Lincoln would continue to work on a contractual basis — netting up to $10,000 a month — as a consultant for CSU’s public relations branch.

Lincoln also accepted a nearly $70,000 incentive and signed a confidentiality agreement upon his resignation.

But the BOG did not approve and was unaware of Penley’s decision to hire Lincoln on a contractual basis, McKinney said.

“The board was unaware of that contract, and that all came to the surface last week,” she said, referring to the same week Penley abruptly resigned as CSU president. “It was the board’s understanding that President Penley was going to make some provisions to get John Lincoln out of the university.”

Lincoln officially relinquished his contract Friday, two days after Penley announced his own resignation.

McKinney confirmed that Penley had the authority to create Lincoln’s contract without board approval.

She could not comment on possible ramifications that Penley could have faced if he did not comply with the board’s recommendation.

However, she said, “(Penley), being president and chancellor, it would be my understanding that (he) would heed their request.”

The BOG sent Lincoln’s contract for review by university attorney Thursday. Pending results, Lincoln turned down the contract.

Lincoln did not receive payment on his contract from the university, said Brad Bohlander, CSU’s head spokesperson.

Lincoln could not be reached for comment. Penley’s wife, Yolanda, said the former CSU president was not available for comment late Monday night after reporters made calls to his home.

News Editor Elyse Jarvis can be reached at

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