Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Regan Ran Suffolk

Just adding a few more snowflakes:

"Suffolk University ends contract with George Regan’s PR firm" by Laura Krantz Globe Staff  February 09, 2016

Suffolk University ended its longstanding and contentious relationship with Regan Communications on Tuesday, amid complaints by alumni, students, and others that the firm’s high-profile chairman exerted undue influence on the school’s governing board.

The company, led by public relations guru George Regan, received $294,019 in fiscal year 2014, the most recent financial information publicly available.

Suffolk severed its ties with Regan following a week of turmoil on the campus that started when some trustees attempted to oust president Margaret McKenna. She refused to resign, but under an agreement with trustees reached Friday, she agreed to step down no later than the fall of 2017.

Regan shot back Tuesday night with a strongly worded statement that said McKenna fired him “hastily” because of a personal agenda.

“President McKenna has chosen to blame me for her contentious relationship with the board, rather than acknowledging her own indefensible actions as the true reason for the board’s deep and valid concerns for her ability to lead the university,” Regan said.

He also said trustees on Friday had enough votes to terminate McKenna but instead “chose to take the high road to stop the onslaught of attacks that Margaret McKenna was waging against the board on a public stage, which was causing significant damage to the school.”

In recent months, Suffolk’s contract with Regan had been a bone of contention.

When McKenna took office in July, she made it clear she planned to review all of the school’s contracts with external vendors and was prepared to end Regan’s arrangement with the college, despite the urging of some trustees.

Last week, during a standoff between McKenna and trustees, Regan told a Globe columnist that the board should “cut your losses, stop the bleeding, and move on.”

Suffolk spokesman Greg Gatlin said in a phone interview Tuesday that McKenna had notified the firm Tuesday that she was ending the relationship.

“Regan Communications no longer represents the university,” said Gatlin, who declined to elaborate.

McKenna did not return a call for comment. Board chairman Andrew Meyer did not return a call seeking comment.

Students and alumni spoke out against the contract last week after learning that one of Regan’s employees, Julie Kahn, is also a Suffolk trustee. Kahn has said she plans to leave the board when her term ends this spring. She declined to comment Tuesday.

Regan’s firm has represented the school for 27 years. A Regan employee, Mariellen Norris, works full time in Suffolk’s communications office as senior associate director of public affairs. She will no longer work at Suffolk at the school’s urging, according to Regan’s firm.

Regan also has connections to several board members, who are clients, former clients, or friends.

Students applauded the decision to drop the Regan contract.

“That was one our basic concerns, the conflict of interest,’’ Student Government Association President Colin Loiselle said Tuesday .“We’re so happy to hear that’s been eliminated.”


Also see:

George Regan is now the face of the back-room deal

Get a good look?


"Suffolk overhaul must follow McKenna’s sacrifice" by Shirley Leung Globe Columnist  February 12, 2016

Did the apocalypse just hit Suffolk University?

There was no clear victor. Instead, president Margaret McKenna and board of trustees chairman Drew Meyer engineered mutual destruction complete with the school’s outside PR honcho George Regan playing the cockroach that possibly survives it all. McKenna, in one of her first acts as a lame duck, fired Regan, who probably will try to fight his termination.

Barbara Anthony, an esteemed Suffolk Law alumna and adjunct professor for nearly two decades, is one of those trying to make sense of the debris.

“Board reform good, good president leaving bad. That doesn’t compute,” said Anthony, former head of the state consumer affairs office.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, who took the unusual step last week to weigh in on the Suffolk fight, continued to express support for McKenna, a civil rights attorney who served as the longtime president of Lesley University.

Walsh told me that he’s confident McKenna will steer Suffolk right and that it will probably be hard for trustees to see her go by the fall of 2017, a deal she struck in exchange for board reform.

“She’s a stable leader of the school, and I’d love to see her stay,” said Walsh.

Those close to McKenna said she made the ultimate sacrifice, even though she was winning in the court of public opinion with Walsh, students, and business and community leaders rallying to her side.

McKenna faced a potential ouster and even if she survived she did not think she could be an effective leader reporting to a divided board, according those who know her well.

So she agreed to leave roughly half way into her five-year contract, but in exchange the board agreed that ringleader Meyer would go and new bylaws would be drafted to prevent the mess that just unfolded.

From what I can tell, current board policies allowed a cabal within the board to flourish and decide on its own McKenna had to go after just seven months in the job. They complained about her “abrasive” management style and alleged that she made unauthorized expenditures.

Then this group itself seemed to sidestep any formal nominating process and picked former attorney general Martha Coakley as the leading candidate to replace McKenna. Coakley would have been the sixth president in five years.

But beyond stronger governance rules to prevent another board going wild, true reform will only take root if the boardroom culture changes too. Yes, that’s code for the old white boys network needs to be broken up.


I need to start ab$taining from this slop.

Among current board members, John McDonnell, a managing director of the Tito’s Handmade Vodka business, and Jeanette Clough, chief executive of Mount Auburn Hospital, are no-nonsense types who could possibly be the next chairs. Legal Sea Foods CEO Roger Berkowitz could have been a candidate, too, but he resigned at the end of January, unhappy with how the board was treating McKenna....


Also see: 

Suffolk president felt distrust early on

Another college might terminate its Regan contract

"The two-page contract’s wording is vague. It says Regan Communications agrees to provide “services in the field of public relations as it may deem appropriate and as directed by [the building authority].” Since 2011, the PR firm has also submitted receipts for reimbursements including $396 for UMass football magnets in 2012, $1,500 for a video about the Albert Sherman Center at the medical school in Worcester in 2013, and mileage to a groundbreaking at UMass Dartmouth in 2015, according to a spreadsheet of payments provided by Mass."

They have been paid a $10,000 monthly retainer since 2011, contracts show, and at the time the contract was struck, the chairman of the building authority was Robert K. Sheridan, who is a close friend of Regan’s and a member of the Suffolk University board, which had a $294,000 contract with his firm.

So what we see here is a way to shovel loot to some well-connected interests when tuition and fees are rising and services are being cut at the colleges. 

You gotta love this $y$tem, kids.

Federal lawmakers query colleges on endowments 

I love photo-op public relations spectacles after the hor$e is already out of the barn, don't you?

UMass Amherst on alert after report of armed person in dorm

Another crisis drill gone live, 'eh?


Days later we find it was only a BB gun?

Suffolk chairman defends board against president’s complaints 

I didn't know she was a Nazi, did you?