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Edison trustee reacts to calls for Walker's resignation

Edison trustee reacts to calls for Walker's resignation

By Matt Grant. CREATED Nov 24, 2011

FORT MYERS - An Edison State College board member says he's surprised by a letter from the Naples Chamber of Commerce calling for "leadership changes."

In the two-page letter, the chamber, which represents 1800 businesses writes that the college is "in crisis that seems to have no end."

The letter also calls on the board to "end the current crisis of confidence" and "take immediate action to seek new leadership."

While the letter doesn't specifically name President Ken Walker, newly appointed board member Brian Chapman says the chamber's signal is clear. What's not clear, he says, is why.

"I'm just not sure if it accomplished everything it hoped to," said Chapman when reached by phone. "And that's because, probably, I don't understand what they were trying to accomplish by the letter."

Chapman says the letter probably won't factor into any of his decisions.

So could Walker be getting his walking papers?

"Immediate resignation?," asked Chapman. "I don't necessarily think that solves anything. I think we need a time-line."

That time-line - Walker's exit strategy for leaving the college - will come up at Tuesday's board meeting.

All of this comes at a time when the college has to fix 14 areas, including its integrity, to keep its accreditation.

"We're going to need a strong leader to get through these 14 accreditation issues," said Chapman.

"And is Dr. Walker that strong leader?," asked Fox 4 reporter Matt Grant.

"I can't answer that question at this point," said Chapman.

Another question Chapman can't answer is what will happen with Vice President Bob Beeson who spoke out against racial discrimination at the college and is well-liked by faculty.

Walker wants Beeson fired and a decision could come Tuesday.

Chapman says he's not sure how he will vote.

"I don't know yet," said Chapman. "I've got a pile about four encyclopedias tall of paperwork that I'm going to read through over this weekend. I'll make that decision as we get closer to Tuesday."

Beeson has been on paid leave for a month now. He's part of a revolving door of administrative resignations and firings that the Naples Chamber of Commerce wants to see stopped.

Walker will announce his exit strategy Tuesday. He has given no hint as to how soon he will step down, just saying it will be before 2013, which was the date previously announced.

Matt Grant, Reporter
mgrant@fox4now.com