David Cuillier Comments on Secret Search for YSU President
David Cuillier, director of the Brechner Freedom of Information Project, is quoted in “WATCHDOG REPORT: Researchers say YSU’s Secret President Search May Not Have Been the Best Option” published on wfmj.com, the NBC television affiliate in Youngstown, Ohio on Dec. 4.
The story focuses on Youngstown State University’s (YSU) search for a new president. Rather than conducting an open search, they chose a private firm to find and vet candidates.
“If you or I apply for a job, we may not want our employer to know, [but] there are other times where we want them to know and it ends up being a leveraged pay raise, a peremptory counteroffer,” said Cuillier. “Half [of the] search firms really don’t do due diligence in background checks other than checking with the references the candidates list and we all know that’s not that helpful.”
The Public Records Act requires public entities to provide records kept by the entity, like resumes of candidates. Because the university used a private company to complete the process, that company kept all the records, meaning they can stay secret.
According to Cuillier, they are following the letter of the law, but not the spirit.
“Government in this country is getting way more secretive, they’re figuring out how to shut out the public and that’s not just my opinion, that’s the facts, that’s the data,” he said.