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Debacle at Penn State: Lesson learned?

| Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Arrrrggggh! Don't you just hate when this happens?:

You conduct a less-than-transparent search for the new president of your scandal-ridden university, you keep things “in-in-house,” not even sharing details with those members of your board of trustees not on the chummy-chummy-chum search committee, and, as you're just about ready to make a big splash with a pro-forma vote for the “new guy” and make a public announcement, it turns out he's an alleged pay-padder.

That's the embarrassing situation in which Penn State University finds itself.

David R. Smith, president of Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, N.Y. (part of the State University of New York system, or SUNY), appears to have been poised to become Happy Valley's happy solution to begin putting the Jerry Sandusky sexual molestation scandal behind it. But, and apparently at the last moment, a search firm that works for both SUNY and Penn State raised a giant red flag, reports the Albany Times Union:

Mr. Smith, without SUNY approval, was discovered to have accepted outside compensation of nearly $350,000. It has placed him on leave, there's talk of him making “substantial repayments” and “disciplinary action” and Penn State appears to have shouted “Next!” — though behind closed doors and likely in a soundproof bunker.

That is, Penn State's not commenting on the debacle.

Perhaps this will force Penn State to engage in a truly transparent search process?

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