Monday evening Florida Keys Community College President, Dr. Jill Landesberg-Boyle submitted an agreement and release. The college board of trustees unanimously agreeing she take a sabbatical until June 15, 2010. The move follows months of conflict between Dr. Boyle and a group of employees and former employees who claim her aggressive management style was abusive.
“While I am exceedingly proud of our accomplishments in the past two years, it has become apparent that this philosophical divide fosters strife,” Dr. Boyle addressed a lobby full of staff, community members, students, and the board. She acknowledged the board should be focused on policy, not administration. Wishing to not “contribute to any continuing unhappiness,” Boyle first outlined pressing issues she addressed aggressively at the start of her presidency.
• Low student’s morale
• Faculty walkouts
• High rates of student attrition
• Ten years of declining enrollment.
She then noted while clear change was needed, few understood the extent of resistance, which would accompany the changes.
She admitted mistakes, “I am sometimes far too judgmental, and I have been far too short with many young staff who needed mentoring, patience and more compliments than criticisms.”
Board of Trustees Chairman Spencer Slate used a football analogy, saying, Boyle was the “quarterback” on the field, and yes, quarterbacks make mistakes, but the team (FKCC) was headed to the Super Bowl.
“She’s a winner,” Slate remarked, “in spite of her game plan. We can make this a winning team. If we change our QB’s, our team may be doomed.”
Trustees Dr. Antoinette Martin and Kim Bassett disagreed. Martin believing the college can come out as winners without Boyle and Bassett said, “When the team is not functioning you change direction. I am grateful for the energy Jill has brought to the college, but I do not echo those sentiments. A team is more than a QB.”
Former Chairman and trustee, Ed Scales urged the campus to start healing, “If I can ask anything I would ask we put our swords down and unite behind our little school so we can continue on our path to make it the best damn little college in the state of Florida.”
Also praising Boyle for her leadership was Trustee Anne O’Bannon of Key Colony Beach.
“With the same momentum Jill has brought to the college,” O’Bannon said. “We do not backslide one nanometer.”
Board Council William “Buck” DeVane urged those in the room and the community to “to characterize this as a resignation.”
Boyle will continue to receive her full salary and benefits; including, health insurance, retirement, $3,000 in monthly housing allowance, automobile allowance, her cell phone stipend, and her vacation time will continue to accrue during the sabbatical, which she will be paid for at the commencement of her leave.
The parties also agreed that Slate would write a letter of reference acknowledging all of Boyle’s accomplishments for her use in seeking new employment.
Her attorney A.B. Maloy reaffirmed to The Weekly Newspapers, Boyle will look for a new position, and doesn’t believe the search will be hindered by the events that have unfolded at FKCC.
“She’s a phenomenal candidate. She’s skilled and what she did here in the last two years is wonderful despite the challenges she’s faced.
“…every decision I have made, every omission, was designed to build and improve the quality of educational opportunities at FKCC…” Boyle said.
Boyle will also be “reasonably available for consultation at FKCC” and will retain her Key West campus office during her leave. A committee will review interested candidates applying to become the interim president.