Jun 162009
 
Authors: Madeline Novey

Editor’s note: Look for a feature story about Joe Blake in the June 24 edition of the Collegian.

CSU Chancellor finalist Joe Blake will tour the CSU Engines Laboratory Monday before his official appointment to the position by the CSU System Board of Governors later this month.

Both Blake and Tony Frank, CSU presidential finalist, are speaking with people statewide in public input meetings, which CSU Spokesperson Michele McKinney said provides an outlet for public dialogue with the two university leaders selected by the BOG last month.

While Monday’s tour is not a public forum and was scheduled to give Blake a sense of the research being conducted by the Engines Laboratory, which includes experiments on energy efficient engine emissions, biofuels, household energy sources and renewable and distributed power, McKinney said it gives Blake and opportunity to “do some legwork and get informed” about the CSU community.

Blake was re-selected as finalist for the chancellor position on May 26 in a public board meeting. This decision followed public critique of the board’s original selection process in which Blake was named the chancellor finalist in a closed-door executive session on May 5.

Having previously recused himself from his seat on the BOG on May 5, Blake resigned in the May 26 meeting, after which members of the board restated their support for renaming him as chancellor.

Hoping to instill greater transparency into the selection process after the closed-door session, three media watch-dog entities – Colorado Ethics Watch, Colorado Common Cause and New Era Colorado – requested the BOG start the chancellor search anew to review additional candidates, including Blake. In response, the board interviewed members of the public to get feedback on how to increase transparency, but McKinney said “no one had suggestions on what could be done.”

Despite controversy, board members said there were no hesitations when it came time to re-select Blake as CSU chancellor.

When asked if he had doubts about voting for Blake the second time around, BOG Voting Member Tom Farley, a Pueblo attorney, said, “No. I think he’s excellent, very good. He’s got broad experience in all the areas that he needs to have to have that job; he knows the movers and shakers throughout Colorado . and he ought to be a tremendous fundraiser for the system.”

Saying Blake was the “wow candidate” the board had hoped to find, Doug Jones, chairman of the board, said Blake’s enthusiasm for the job and his connections with legislators and businessmen across the state will certainly benefit the university.

“The board saw that one: Joe’s enthusiasm was way out there – it was undeniably there and he was as enthusiastic as he could be,” Jones said. “Second, his knowledge of the state as far as the workings of the political world, legislature and business; how the state works, was a reason for going with him.”

Building and rejuvenating revenue streams for the university is Blake’s main charge as chancellor and is expected to act as a Denver-based lobbyist for the CSU System both at the Capitol and across the state.

The BOG will appoint both Frank and Blake to their permanent positions in its June 24 meeting.

News Managing Editor Madeline Novey can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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