Politics & Government

General Assembly gives Bevin broad power to replace university boards

Gov. Matt Bevin
Gov. Matt Bevin

The Kentucky House gave final passage to a bill Wednesday that gives Gov. Matt Bevin broad authority to remove public university board members.

Senate Bill 107 creates a procedure for removing individual board members and entire university boards if they engage in “malfeasance, misfeasance, incompetence, or gross neglect of duty.” The bill also requires Senate approval of the governor’s appointees.

Under the bill, the governor’s office must give written notice to the board member at least seven days before his or her removal, and allow the board member to resign or provide evidence against the charges. The notice must be reviewed by the Council on Postsecondary Education.

The measure was approved 60 to 33 and now goes to Bevin for his signature or veto.

In January, the General Assembly approved legislation that signed off on Bevin’s decision last year to abolish and reconstitute the University of Louisville’s Board of Trustees.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools had put the University of Louisville on probation in December because Bevin’s abolition of the board put it out of compliance “with its own policy on board dismissal.”

Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, has said SACS wants the General Assembly to clarify the proper procedure for removing board members.

House Democrats argued the bill cedes too much authority to the executive branch.

“This really gives the governor way too much power,” said Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, D-Louisville.