Edison candidate's ties to college questioned

Edison candidate's ties to college questioned

By Matt Grant. CREATED May 18, 2012 - UPDATED: May 18, 2012

FORT MYERS - New questions about one of the four finalists looking to be the next president of Edison State College.

Some faculty and students worry one of the candidate's ties to the college will just bring more of the same drama.

Ordinarily, having ties to a place where you want to work would be considered a good thing. But many on Edison's campus say they want change and question whether someone who's been at the college for almost a decade can do that.

"It would be very difficult for someone who's already been associated with the college ," said Edison student Alan Redfield, "to come in and represent change."

But change is what Dr. Jeff Allbritten is promising. Even though he was the Collier campus president for eight years.

"If he's used to the way things operated before," said Redfield, "is this going to be more of the same?"

It's a concern expressed by some faculty who call Allbritten's time at Edison a "double-edged sword."

"I just think it would kind of look bad if we went back to leadership that we had before," said Edison humanities and fine arts chair Russell Swanson, "when we had the opportunity to go forward with a clean slate."

"It's an institution I care so deeply about," said Allbritten when reached by phone. "[I] invested eight years of my life."

Allbritten left Edison in 2011 at the height of the college's scandals to take a job as president of Macon State College.

"I left because I was looking for a presidency," he said.

But a year into that presidency, Allbritten is now looking to return to the job he really wanted - as Edison president.

While he declined to comment on Dr. Ken Walker's management style, he says he would run the college differently.

"So you feel you can bring change to the college even though you were part of that system for eight years?," asked Fox 4 reporter Matt Grant.

"Absolutely," said Allbritten. "Because every individual has their own identity. I'm a leader here and I'm very different than anybody else would be."

In a statement, a college spokesperson called the four finalists exceptional and said they will all be treated fairly and equally. 

Candidates' resumes:

Jeff Allbritten
Gene Giovannini
Eric McKeithan
Joseph Sarnovsky

Follow Edison's search

Matt Grant