Florestano in line for school board post

February 04, 1994|By Carol L. Bowers | Carol L. Bowers,Sun Staff Writer

Anne Arundel Community College President Thomas E. Florestano is Gov. William Donald Schaefer's choice to fill a five-month vacancy on the county Board of Education.

Robert Pascal, the governor's appointments secretary, confirmed late yesterday that the appointment would be announced today.

The school board vacancy was created by the abrupt resignation of Jo Ann Tollenger, who had five months left to serve in her five-year term.

County Executive Robert R. Neall nominated Dr. Florestano for the post last week, but the nomination immediately drew criticism when the college president made it known that the AACC budget would remain his top priority.

Ms. Tollenger and Carolyn Roeding, president of the Anne Arundel County Council of PTAs, said there could be a conflict of interest if Dr. Florestano had to fight for money for both budgets.

"We researched the conflict question, and legally we're OK with it," Mr. Pascal said. "We got an attorney general's opinion. The governor did call Mr. Neall to be sure he still strongly supported the candidate, and he did."

As for who will fill the full five-year school board term that begins July 1, Mr. Pascal said that Mr. Schaefer is expected to take into account the vote of the Anne Arundel County School Board Nominating Convention.

The annual convention gathers together representatives from church, school and civic organizations to vote on candidates for the school board. The results of their vote are sent to the governor for his consideration.

"The appointment is up to him," Mr. Pascal said. "Sometimes we've gone with their choice, and sometimes we haven't. But the governor is sensitized to the community and what's going on in Anne Arundel County."

Dr. Florestano, 61, is scheduled to retire June 30 after 15 years as president of the college.

The college president's supporters say he has combined a diamond-in-the-rough style with aggressive leadership, sound management and tireless marketing of a school that has 12,387 students this semester, making it the state's fourth-largest community college.

He expanded the school's health curriculum from a single nursing program to a range of studies so successful that a $6.2 million Allied Health and Public Services Building was opened in January.

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