The board that governs the three state universities today (Monday) elected Des Moines businessman Michael Gartner as its president. Gartner replace John Forsyth who resigned earlier this year after the Attorney General said Forsyth could not vote on matters involving the University of Iowa Hospitals because of Forsyth’s position as C-E-O of Wellmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Gartner says time is of the essence for the Regents to be agents of change. He says, “I think the atmosphere is right in the legislature, on the board and on the campuses to embrace the change the board has proposed, the transformation plan that’s in the legislature right now. And once a decision like that is made, the faster the transition comes, the better it is for everybody.” Gartner says the Regents need to see the transformation effort through. He says, “Change has no real constituency when it starts and then momentum builds. So, I hope that we can move it along and build that momentum so that it moves even faster than some people expect.” Gartner is the chairman and principal owner of the Iowa Cubs, and most recently led the Vision Iowa Board. Gartner doesn’t think there’s any fallout on the board after the resignation of Forsyth and two other Regents. He says there’s 100 percent support for the transformation plan, and says he has found nobody with the slightest reservation for the plan. The Board today also changed its committee structure, eliminating the committee on the University of Iowa Hospitals. Gartner says the change brings a broader focus to the hospital oversight. He says that several people on the board felt that the board as a whole should bear the responsibility and duty of overseeing the hospital and that they should meet more often to do that duty. Gartner says it changes things back to the way they were done in the past. Some of the concerns surround Forsyth came out of the hospital committee, but Gartner says that had nothing to do with the change. He says, “No I don’t think so.” Gartner says the board owes a tremendous debt to Forsyth for developing and selling the transformation plan. Gartner’s term as president will expire at the end of April 2006.
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