HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Dr. David Lassner will be the next University of Hawai'i president. The UH Board of Regents selected interim president Lassner over retired Army Lt. General Frank Wiercinski in a 11 - 2 decision, with two other abstaining from the vote -- insisting instead that UH should start over and re-open the search.
From protests about General Wiercinski's military background to outcries over fairness when interim president Lassner was allowed to considered for the job, officials said Monday's split vote was reflective of the process.
"Perhaps there were some flaws, but we ended up with two great candidates, and we made a choice and now the university will have a leader that will take us into the future," said UH Board of Regents' Chair John Holzman.
Regents have approved an initial salary of $375,000 a year. However, a sub-committee will work out the terms of Lassner's contract, including how long he'll serve.
"Other boards can decide what they want to do in the future, but right now we have a continuous term, that means he continues to serve, and every year there will be an annual evaluation. And if he continues to perform well, there will continue to be annual evaluations," said Holzman.
Officials are wary about referring to Lassner's selection as being on a year-to-year basis.
"The president's agenda is about a five-year deal. There's a lot to do and I don't think anyone doubts that. And we all have confidence and a great expectation that president Lassner will do those things, and it's going to take time," Holzman explained.
A UH spokeswoman said Lassner was not available for comment after the vote. He did smile and wave at our Hawaii News Now crew after leaving a reception at College Hill following the decision.
Among those in attendance was Hawai'i Superintendent of Education Kathryn Matayoshi, who supports Lasnner's selection. She says she hopes he will make strengthening UH's relationship with primary education a priority.
"We're just talking about how the University and K-12 education need to really work together and continue the work that we've done just to make sure our kids when they graduate can come to the University of Hawai'i and have great higher education experience," said Matayoshi.
Lassner has been interim president since last September, but has been with the university for 37 years -- most recently as the vice president for information technology.