Edison president stepping down sooner than planned
Dr. Ken Walker announces he will step down sooner for good of college.Photo: Video by fox4now.com
FORT MYERS - Edison State College president Dr. Ken Walker announced Friday he will step down as head of the college sooner than he planned - but wouldn't say when.
"That's all I can say at this time," said Walker.
"Sometime in the next year?," asked Fox 4 reporter Matt Grant.
"No further comment on that," said Walker.
With four new board members starting amidst a growing wave of pressure for him to step, the timing of Walker's announcement is significant.
Walker appears to be offering a compromise that would allow him to leave on his terms.
"It's my desire to see that this kind of acrimony that's existed come to an end," said Walker.
Four new board members started Friday and right away they got an earful from angry students and staff.
"Can we end this plantation style administration and the unnecessary lynchings?," one professor said.
"Do not allow him the dignity of resigning," said Alan Redfield, with the Edison College Republicans. "Which will allow him to even more taxpayer money."
After repeated calls by faculty and students for Walker to step down, the college president said he is is willing to propose changes to his succession plan that "would an include an earlier date" for his retirement.
That retirement was supposed to be in 2013-2014, after a year-long paid sabbatical. Walker says the barrage of negative attention has taken its toll on him, his family and the college.
"Unfortunately we've come to the point where we're allowing him to resign," said Redfield. "Rather than being terminated."
New board member Pamella Seay, who said she wanted to make "dramatic" changes, praised Walker's decision.
"I think he understands that what we might need," said Seay, "is a change of direction, a change of course."
Walker says his change of mind has nothing to do with changes on the board.
"So the idea that the board would ask you to step down you never thought of that," asked Grant.
"No," said Walker. "No. In my mind there would be no cause for that."
Walker will announce a time-frame for his departure at the next board meeting on Nov. 22 - the final meeting of the year.
Matt Grant, Reporter