After fulfilling what has been called an “exhaustive and rigorous” process, Thomas Farley and Pat McConathy have all but made it onto the CSU Board of Governors as voting members.
The two new members, appointed by Gov. Bill Ritter, are currently waiting for confirmation from the Senate.
McConathy was a former member of the board and was re-appointed. Therefore he is allowed to sit on the board and make decisions, whereas Farley is unable to do so until Senate confirms the appointments.
The two were chosen because of their experience, said Evan Dreyer, a spokesman for governor Ritter.
Their subject matter expertise made them the best candidates to serve on this board in this capacity,” he said. “Both have demonstrated a commitment to higher education in Colorado and the governor is confident that they will bring that same level of commitment to the board.”
While both are Democrats, McConathy said he hopes political affiliation will not affect what is done on the board.
He said he believes that the board should not be political in any way.
The board consists of 13 members, nine of them able to vote. Their main goal is to oversee the financial stewardship of CSU.
The board as a whole meets regularly to approve budgets and curriculum changes and present updates on the work that they do.
Individually each member of the board is required to be involved in a CSU committee, such as an audit, finance, or real estate committee.
“They are policy driven and fiscally driven,” said Michele McKinney, Director of Denver Public Relations.
Seeking to create political parity within the board, former Governor Bill Owens passed a law stating that there may not be more than five members from either political party on any board, with the exception of the CU Board of Regents because the members are elected officials and operate under a different set of rules, McKinney said.
Although the two members share the same political affiliation, their backgrounds differ greatly.
McConathy is a rancher from McCoy, CO. He has spent much of his career in the gas and oil industry, working as a petroleum landman for the Placid Oil Co., before starting McConathy Production Co.
His company operated oil wells in Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Wyoming.
He is now experimenting with some alternative energy programs in Colorado, California and India, he said.
He is also currently on the Board of Governors at Middlebury College in Vermont.
The system there is different, because Middlebury is a private college, but he hopes his experience on that board will help him on CSU’s board, he said.
“I am more excited every time that I attend the meetings,” McConathy said. “But I have no idea what I will bring to the table. I don’t have an agenda yet, I am just coming in with an open mind.”
Farley, as a lawyer and public servant, comes from a slightly different background. He is from Pueblo, CO, and has served as a commissioner for the Colorado Division of Wildlife as well as a board member of the Colorado Forum and Health Net Inc.
He was a former member on the Fort Lewis College Board of Governors as well as that of CSU.
This is a great system that is extremely important to the state of Colorado,” he said. “I feel very privileged to be able to give whatever talent I may have to (the board’s) betterment.”
Senior reporter Cece Wildeman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org