Penley’s No. 2 retires

Oct 272008
Authors: Elyse Jarvis

CSU President Larry Penley announced in an e-mail message to select campus leaders this month that Executive Vice President John Lincoln, who was promoted to the No. 2 position at the university last year, offered his resignation and is retiring to a solely contractual position.

Brad Bohlander, CSU’s head spokesperson, said all university departments directly under Lincoln’s oversight, which include all executive operations, will now “report directly to Penley.”

Lincoln’s retirement comes as large controversial funding shifts conducted by the Penley administration — which, over the last five years have moved millions of dollars that could go toward academics into executive administration instead — have drawn criticism from state lawmakers and student leaders.

Lincoln will continue work with Public Affairs on a contractual basis, but his specific duties have yet to be outlined in a separation agreement.

“The specifics of the scope of work and the contract are being worked out,” Bohlander said.

He said that Lincoln, who was hired by Penley primarily to “set up an organizational structure” for CSU’s communication department, has accomplished what he was brought in to do and that now is an ideal time for his transition into semi-retirement.

“It probably raises concerns when a senior administrator steps down,” Bohlander said, “but this is a positive thing.”

Working with Penley during their tenure at Arizona State University, Lincoln was appointed to direct diversity initiatives in 2004 with no job announcement or search process preceding his hire.

Moving quickly up the chain of command since then, Lincoln was promoted last year to the newly implemented senior vice presidential position, which put him on the same administrative rung as the long-time provost, Tony Frank, who was also promoted to the new position of senior executive vice president.

Frank has been with the university since 1993 and has overseen various academic departments.

Bohlander said the university does not intend to hire a replacement into the executive vice-presidential position, as it “does not anticipate any significant changes at all” following Lincoln’s departure.

Taylor Smoot, president of the Associated Students of CSU, said it is within Penley’s presidential boundaries to do away with the position and to instead maintain his own oversight.

“All of those people are accountable to (Penley) already,” Smoot said.

Lincoln’s retirement was effective Oct. 21, and his contractual term will begin Nov. 1.

“(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 the e-mail to campus officials.

Frank, Lincoln and CSU System Board of Governors officials were not available for comment and deferred questions to Bohlander.

News Editor Elyse Jarvis can be reached at

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