When Don Gaetz said he would support anything Lewis Bear asked him to legislatively support it seemed Mr. Gaetz was a tad too enthusiastic. That was in 2014. Likely long before then Mr. Gaetz had his eye on the UWF presidency. Lewis Bear was and is chairman of the board of trustees.
Then an announcement was made that Dr. Bense was going to remain as President for another year. Speculation was that it was to accommodate Mr. Gaetz ending his senate term so he could apply for the presidency of UWF. Then Mr. Bear chose the nominating committee. His de facto assistant, Collier Merrill, a member of the search committee, has repeatedly said he favors Mr. Gaetz appointment without knowing who else might apply. At first Mr. Bear had no faculty named to the committee; eventually he allowed only four faculty appointments. Among the non-faculty appointees was a former employee of Mr. Gaetz and a man Mr. Gaetz had nominated for appointment to the Okaloosa Walton Community College Board of Trustees. This man does not appear to have any connection to UWF (see letter below). Mr. Bear was picked by the Governor for Enterprise Florida based on Mr. Gaetz’s recommendation. In the meantime not a single member of the Board of Trustees of UWF registered any public complaint about Mr. Bear’s composition of the search committee or the selection of the search firm that was hired.
On August 15th, Mr. Gaetz formally submitted his application to the search committee. The only relevant question is: Why in the world didn’t they just hire Mr. Gaetz outright and save the time and money from what they are doing now?