Candidate Synopsis: 2018 Penn State Alumni Trustee Election

By April 11, 2018News
By Barry Fenchak
Barry Fenchak for Trustee
Originally published on his Facebook notes on Tuesday, April 10, 2018. Reprinted here with permission of the author.

2018 Penn State Board of Trustee Elections, for the three Alumni-Elected seats, begins on April 10th….

you can get your ballot here: https://trustees.psu.edu/2018election/index.html

With that in mind, and in the optimistic hope that Penn State Alums will all engage in an action of responsible governance – a brief “primer” with regard to the candidates for this year’s elections:

Laurie Stanell:

Stanell has a campaign web site here: http://stanell4trustee.com/ Please visit the website – for detailed information regarding Stanell’s concerns for the University – and her work over the past several years.
Within her website, she outlines here primary concerns – but the most remarkable characteristic regarding Stanell is her kinetic energy over the last several years, as illustrated on her campaign site.
She has been one of Penn State’s most active and engaged advocates for responsible governance, and – as outlined on her site – has been involved with devoting her time to:
  • Alumni Council
  • Lobbying for Responsible Governance in Harrisburg
  • Attending, and Speaking at, Penn State Board of Trustees Meetings
  • Studying PSU Board Activities and Penn State Governance Issues
She is one of the very, very few individuals who has maintained her activism throughout the last several years – and who has truly given of herself (I know – because I’ve been there to see much of her work myself).
As opposed to the many posers and bloviators who have entered the “Penn State Governance World” over the last several years, Stanell has been in the trenches and doing the work. Energy and commitment like Stanell’s are sorely absent from the current Board.

 

Rob Tribeck:

Tribeck has a campaign website here: http://www.tribeck4trustee.com

Tribeck is an attorney with Post-Acute Medical Inc, and first became known to many Penn Staters for his work on the “PS4RS Rebuttal” of the Freeh Report. Tribeck is an incumbent Trustee, placed on the Board in 2015 when Adam Taliaferro resigned. In 2015, Tribeck was endorsed by the PS4RS Board (a group who’s members include his Employer and his employer’s Wife), and ran unopposed along with Anthony Lubrano and Ryan McCombie (both of whom are walking away from the Board this year).
He has also been endorsed by the PS4RS Board in the 2018 election. It bears noting – that endorsement was from the PS4RS BOARD, not the Membership. The Membership was in no way consulted or involved prior to the PS4RS Board issuing an endorsement. As with most Trustees, there is precious little record to evaluate since Tribeck took his seat, but he did provide this agenda prior to being seated in 2015: https://pennstatermag.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/tribeck.pdf
While I couldn’t find any specific proposals within Tribeck’s position statement of 2015, nor in his actions over the last three years, nor in his communications of the last few weeks, this snippet – from the 2015 document linked above- seemed incongruous:
“I remain disturbed by what is viewed as a secretive and arrogant attitude by Board leadership”
It would appear that Tribeck may have adopted a “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” stance, as there has been a dramatic dearth of communication or information from Tribeck in his three years on the Board – aside from the two months leading up to his re-election bid.
Tribeck had pledged – this year – that he would NOT “campaign, debate, or otherwise engage” wrt his re-election. And that he would expect to simply be re-elected based upon his record`. Assuming – apparently – that anyone could find his “record”.
As such, there is not much more to say.

Alvin de Levie:

A de Levie is an attorney – practicing out of Philadelphia – who works as a Contingency-Fee personal injury attorney. https://www.alvindelevie.com/about-our-fees
de Levie has been endorsed by the PS4RS Board, and by his friend and long-time acquaintance – Mrs Sue Paterno.
As with Tribeck, it bears noting: That endorsement of PS4RS was from the PS4RS BOARD, not the Membership.
The Membership was in no way consulted or involved prior to the Board issuing an endorsement.
I could not locate a campaign website for de Levie, so I will outline some of the highlights of his campaign here. Based upon his FaceBook postings de Levie’s three primary messages appear to be:
  1. “I have developed a proven record of tenaciously and successfully representing my clients against large corporations and institutions, including Penn State” This claim appears to be referencing de Levie’s representation of fired Penn State Fencing Coach Emmanuil Kadainov . In that suit, de Levie filed motions on seven different causes – seeking: Reinstatement of Kadainov to his coaching position and Compensatory and Punitive Damages. Upon Penn State’s request, the Judge dismissed all of the actions de Levie filed against PSU Athletic Director Dave Joyner and against PSU Integrity Officer Julie DelGiorno…. along with all actions against Penn State – aside from a “Breach of Contract” and “Due Process” action. http://www.statecollege.com/news/local-news/federal-court-allows-former-fencing-coachs-lawsuit-against-penn-state-to-continue,1462339/ The case then settled – confidentially and out of Court – with Kadainov NOT being reinstated – nor being awarded compensatory or punitive damages by the Court.
  2. “I will call for an independent audit that will help us fulfill the true mission of Penn State as a Land Grant University”
Penn State has already completed TWO independent audits over the last 9 months – – – – and that information and data is readily available, with respect to its availability to analyze Penn State’s FUBAR finances. What has been lacking is the willingness on the part of the Trustees to:
  1. Do the Work
  2. Apply the Data
  3. Speak Up, and Stand Up for Fiscal Responsibility
On the other hand, calling for ANOTHER “Independent Audit” may make it sound like one is actually trying to do something – without actually doing ANYTHING.
and
3. “Short of being birthed by the Nittany Lion or JoePa himself, I could not have more Blue and White running through my veins.”
Perhaps the most disconcerting aspect of any Candidates marketing efforts, are de Levie’s allusions to having been ordained by some proximity to sanctitude…. as a rationale for his placement on the Board.

Brandon Short:

Short is well known to many Penn State Alums as a result of his participation on football teams of the 1990s. Short is currently working with a Private Equity firm in London UK. (FWIW, he has pledged to attend all Board meetings in person, despite the travel issues).

Short has a campaign web site here: http://www.bshort4psu.net/issues
Short has been endorsed by the PS4RS Board.
As with Tribeck and deLevie, it bears noting – that “PS4RS” endorsement was from the PS4RS BOARD, not the Membership. The Membership was in no way consulted or involved prior to the Board issuing an endorsement.
As you can see if you navigate his website linked above, Short addresses several concerns – AND outlines, in most cases, some intelligent, specific proposals.
Most of them focus on:
  1. Affordability
  2. Governance Accountability
  3. Adapting to the Changes in Higher Education.
I think these outlines are all required reading for anyone with the power to cast a ballot.
Unfortunately, to date, most of the publicity surrounding Short’s candidacy has been limited to “Football” tangential items. This despite my finding him to be engaged, accessible, and knowledgeable about several of the real issues facing the University.
Short’s history as a “football player” does present obstacles, not necessarily of his own making. Thanks to the myopic focus of many past and current Alumni Trustees – spending most of their energy on the “Football Agenda”, while neglecting responsible governance – Short has a perception issue to overcome. Short’s presence – if he were to be elected – will likely further the widely-held, and justifiable, opinion that the Alumni Trustees are “Nothing but one-trick ponies. Only concerned about Football and a Statue”. That is not Short’s fault – but that perception will most certainly be attached to him, and it will be up to him to overcome that perception with his actions.
It behooves the Alumni to take a few moments to study the proposals he has outlined in the link posted above….. WITHOUT using the lens of “Ex-Football Player” to determine their approval.

There you have it.

In all likelihood, three of the above will take seats for the next three years as YOUR representatives on the Penn State Board.

Of course, you CAN Write-In : Barry J Fenchak, Class of 1984 on your ballot as well Choose wisely.

Remember, you can request your ballot here: https://trustees.psu.edu/2018election/index.html

I want to hear from you.