LSU discusses reorganization

JORDAN BLUM | Advocate capitol news bureau

October 30, 2011

The LSU Board of Supervisors on Friday formed a new “work group” to look at issues regarding the potential reorganization of the LSU System and other efficiencies.

The group, which is made up of six LSU Board members and five system staffers, will meet privately and work in an advisory capacity to LSU System President John Lombardi and the full LSU Board, Lombardi said.

“We hope this will be a proactive initiative by the Board that we can kind of look at our own organization,” said LSU Board Chairman Ben Mount of Lake Charles.

The new work group is being formed the same time the legislatively created state Governance Commission is considering potential changes to the overall shape and governance of Louisiana’s higher education management structure.

The Governance Commission is meeting for the third month on Monday and Tuesday.

“We wanted to make sure our Board had the opportunity to provide a response,” Lombardi said.

The work group also coincides with a study funded by business leaders in the Shreveport area that is looking into a potential merger of LSU in Shreveport with Louisiana Tech University, which is part of the University of Louisiana System.

Lombardi complained earlier this month that the study was being conducted without involving the LSU System. He also noted that LSU had its own organizational discussions going on internally.

The LSU System oversees the state’s public hospital system, two medical schools, a law school, an agricultural center, a biomedical research center and four academic campuses, not counting the University of New Orleans.

UNO is in the middle of transferring out of the LSU System and into the UL System.

Lombardi said everything would be on the table, including merger discussions with the work group.

LSU Board Chairman-elect Hank Danos of Larose will chair the group. The other five Board members are Ben Mount, Blake Chatelain of Alexandria, John George of Shreveport, Ray Lasseigne of Bossier City and James Moore of Monroe.

The five LSU System employees in the group are LSU System General Counsel Ray Lamonica, Vice President for Student and Academic Support Mike Gargano, Vice President for Academic Affairs Carolyn Hargrave, Vice President for Health Affairs and Medical Education Fred Cerise and Chief Financial Office Wendy Simoneaux.

Mount said the group also will examine health-care effectiveness.

Danos said LSU Board discussions have mostly focused on budget cuts the last couple years and it is now “time to take a step back” and look more closely at the overall picture.