The UNC BOG Mess CAN Be Fixed

    Agent Pierce
    September25/ 2015

    That stumbling, bumbling administrative vaudeville act known euphemistically as “The UNC BOG” a/k/a University of North Carolina Board of Governors – may indeed be “a stumbling, bumbling ………… act”; but it IS Fixable.

    There ARE some fine individuals on the current BOG who CAN do some very good work on behalf of the people of North Carolina….

    Jenna Robinson – a quite accomplished investigative commando for The JLF’s “LockerRoom – recently posted the latest “the Truth hurts” account of how dysfunctional the current BOG has become. – Link .… I urge you to read it if you have not.

    One does not need to be Peter Drucker or a rainmaker for McKinsey or Booz Allen or any other whizbang management consultantcy “from more than 100 miles away and carrying a briefcase” to fix the UNC BOG.   But no 20 lbs leather-bound “Management Plan” is worth a hill o’ beans unless ……

    John Fennebresque…. Ms Robinson’s article is too polite.  She avoids the #1 “monkey wrench in the works” that is responsible for this most inglorious mess i.e. it’s current chairmanJohn Fennebresque.


    Fennebresque employs the leadership style of “Il Duce” Benito Mussolini.   He is arrogant, ruthless, vindictive, and “holds grudges”.   But enough about his better qualities.

    Is John Fennebresque as ineffective a “leader” as House Speaker “Tiny Tim” Moore?   A fair question.   They are equally ineffective in different ways.   We will discuss “Tiny Tim” and his cabal of scheming elves at a later date.

    Full Disclosure:  I have never personally “met” John Fennebresque.   I have had numerous conversations with BOG members as well as assorted Mecklenburg movers & shakers”.   Stand on the corner of Tryon & Trade in Charlotte and you will hear plenty of John Fennebresque stories.   Apparently everyone in Charlotte has one.

    John Fennebresque may be a “nice guy”, a dutiful husband and a loving father.  Maybe he sings in a church choir and delivers Meals On Wheels (I doubt that).   He does have a great deal of “family money” to buy whatever he wants.

    A lot of people who get appointed to prestigious positions have “that” going for them.   He is not the first or last to employ that skill.   It is a very Bi-partisan “talent”.

    The current BOG has not become a laughingstock because of its partisan make-up.   It has ALWAYS been an “overtly partisan body”…. less so now than in previous decades.

    Why is John Fennebresque Chairman of the UNC BOG?  Simple.  He bought it.

    I could “buy” myself a spot on the roster of The Carolina Hurricanes; but it would quickly become apparent that I can’t ice skate.   A precursory due diligence of John Fennebresque would reveal he is NOT an Executive-level Manager.

    Being “a silk-stocking lawyer” is NOT “being an executive-level manager”.  Any more than a Hollywood actor equates to being an authority on nuclear disarmament.

    John Fennebresque wanted the resume / obituary credit of Chairman of The UNC BOG to counter several “less than exemplary” items in his bruised and battered Curriculum Vitae.   Items that clearly illustrated his lack of executive leadership acumen. ….. So he wrote sizable checks to several influential NC General Assembly members who are puppetmasters of the BOG.   One recipient being Mecklenburg’s Bob Rucho…. a multi-term veteran of “how Jones Street works”.   NOTE:  Donations to a political campaign are absolutely “legal” assuming certain guidelines are followed.  We are not implying those guidelines were not followed in this case.  “Quid pro quo” is also understood.

    You want to know how a John Fennebresque got to be Chair of the UNC BOG?   Contact Senator Bob Rucho – (919) 733-5655 ….. .

    He’ll hem and haw and say “his fellow BOG members elected him.  It’s not my fault.  Blah blah yadda yadda…..”   BULL!

    Then ask Sen. Rucho if he and Sen. Phil Berger could “persuade” John Fennebresque to “decide to resign his BOG post to pursue other career options”.   Trust me.  Rucho and Berger can “do that” very very easily.

    BUT to do that means (1) admitting his appointment was a colossal blunder, and (2) they would have to give back all that $$$.   No politician of any party wants to do either #1 or #2.

    Do a freakin’ Tony Tata and say “I need to work on my book”.   Who cares what he says…. just persuade him to get the hell off of the BOG.   Hellfire…. name him (Fennebresque) as Ambassador to Vermont.  Just get him off of the UNC BOG.

    IF that happens (odds are it WON’t) – we’ll go to Step Two in cleaning up this trainwreck.   It’s not too late.   There are some fine individuals on the current BOG who CAN do some very good work on behalf of the people of North Carolina….

    Flush Fennebresque….. and let them prove it.

    PS:   Surely you know that the “prestigious” search firm that Fennebresque hired to replace Tom “Z. Smith” Ross is the same bunch that found Gene “Gasbag” Nichol for William & Mary.   HOLY CRAP, Batman!  Sideshow GeekHow would you like THAT on your company’s list of accomplishments?

    That same firm proudly boast of its “success” at promoting DIVERSITY within High Academia.   Look for Tom Ross’ successor to be a Transsexual Albino Muslim Midget with a lazy eye and a lisp.


    …. If we’re lucky.


    Agent Pierce
    • Richard Reply
      4 years ago

      AP: All of this disturbs me a great deal. It appears the BOG Chairman and Search Committee have made a mess of things. What would be wrong with the BOG voting to start all over again? Why not hire an interim president and reconstitute the Search Committee, giving it strict orders to find a president who will be a “change agent” with the strength and will to fix the UNC system and institute conservative reform? The status quo is simply not acceptable.

      • Agent Pierce Reply
        4 years ago

        “Unacceptable” is an understatement. Nearest I can attest NO ONE wants Fennebresque to remain as Chairman EXCEPT the 2-3 people in the NCGenAss who can “oust him”. He has absolutely “lost” his fellow board members allowing for a handful of sycophants. …. Any Plan B is better than the present situation.

    • uncleron Reply
      4 years ago

      So many had high hopes that “maybe this time it’ll be different” when GOP took the Governor’s mansion and solidified the hold on the Legislature.  For the most part, North Carolina is a better place, but all it takes is a few high profile failures in the face of a media that can’t wait to point them out.  No surprise that the Achilles Heel is money.  Today’s headlines point to the failures of high profile appointments.  Tata, Wos and Fennebresque.

      Like you, I think the BOG has plenty of capable folks who can and will do the right thing.  The Board of Governors was designed by Bill Friday to serve the President and Administration by making it so large and the University’s Byzantine function so puzzling that nobody will bother to “get into the weeds.”

      • Agent Pierce Reply
        4 years ago

        Yes… “our side” seems intent on proving that the sweet aroma of “power” is so intoxicating that very poor decision-making bordering on pure corruption is inevitable… as it was when “they” were in charge. … The odds that Rucho / Berger will “do anything about Fennebresque” are too high to measure. I am confident they won’t do a thing.

    • robedixon Reply
      4 years ago

      I consider the pending appointment to replace Tom Ross as the most important leadership selection in the state going forward bar none.  I expect there are others who think this way as well.  If we are ever going to begin to turn around the mess that the UNC system has become this is the moment and now is our time.  Indeed it seems the John F. is the leadership problem here and he needs flushing and be that right soon.  Let’s hope Sen. Burger who displayed so serious real leadership skills in moving Rep. Moore to a better budget agreement recently can similarly display those same skills in pushing Sen. Rucho to help move John F. to wanting to “spend more time with family” shortly.

      • Agent Pierce Reply
        4 years ago

        He (JF) is indeed the problem. Hopefully the problem will be resolved but history says don’t bet on it.

    • David Reply
      4 years ago

      AP: Thanks for an excellent article. Chairman Fennebresque is definitely a disaster, but it appears to me that the entire BOG is a disaster. The voting scorecard that Jenna Robinson put together is very enlightening. It shows virtually 100% of Republican BOG members voting right down the line for liberal UNC policies! Vote Scorecards don’t lie. We were promised conservative reform and change in the UNC system and, instead, it’s getting worse. This BOG has even approved the appointment of six leftwing chancellors. Some of the BOG members who promised to vote for conservative reform just outright lied to us. You say there are some “good” reformers on the BOG—but where are they? The voter scorecard shows virtually 100% support for liberal policies by the Republican BOG. Who are the good guys?

      • Agent Pierce Reply
        4 years ago

        Fennebresque’s “sledge hammer” management style has a lot to do with those “yes” votes. He uses committee appointments (or not) as “threats” to persuade BOG members to vote “his way”. He does not allow questions or discussion of controversial issues… or any questions of His Total Authority.

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