After more than ten years of service, J. David Armstrong, Jr. is stepping down from his role as president of Broward College; he is taking a year-long sabbatical, but will collect his $381,000 salary. Following the sabbatical, where school trustees say he’ll be on call and help with the transition to a new president, Armstrong will officially retire.
The decision to allow a sabbatical directly before retirement and continue to pay the massive salary has garnered criticism in Tallahassee. Broward College Trustees are standing firm in their decision by stating that having Armstrong available to introduce the next president to state legislators and the business community outweighs the value of his salary.
Armstrong will take on the title of president emeritus when he begins his sabbatical on June 30.
State House Speaker Richard Corcoran made his views apparent by cutting the school’s funding in the proposed House budget by $381,000. The action made Broward College the only Florida Community College to receive an itemized cut.
The college’s agreement to pay Armstrong hits during at a time when the college is facing a $5.1 million decline in enrollment and revenues. Recent attempts to contain costs include closing a Coral Springs location, increase class sizes, and cut vacant positions.
The college had to repay $5.6 million last year following a federal government review that determined more than 2,000 students gained unwarranted financial aid.
Armstrong offered his assistance to help find his successor, “… I care as much as you do that we get the best president we have ever had in Broward College.”
The board says it is hoping to name a new president by May 31. They have already selected AGB Search, based in New Jersey, to direct the process. Furthermore, a screening committee will produce a list of 25 semi-finalists which will be trimmed down to three or four finalists who will then be invited to the campus for interviews, presumably in April.
Broward County has 63,000 students and over 5,000 faculty and staff.
The college has set up a web page for public comments related to the selection process. Find out more at bcpresidentsearch.com.