Wilder has declined to comment, as have several Regents contacted this week. The search firm’s decision to quit, reported by the AJC on Thursday, was the latest development in the behind-the-scenes effort to name Perdue to one of the most powerful positions in state government.
It’s not immediately clear whether it would further delay a search for a permanent chancellor that was already put on hold last month after the AJC reported there wasn’t enough support among the state Board of Regents to tap Perdue for the job.
A few days later, the AJC disclosed that a regional accrediting agency warned the system could be found “out of compliance” if the process was politicized. Losing accreditation could mean that students won’t be able to qualify for federal financial aid and could struggle to transfer to other colleges.
Though Perdue and his aides have never commented publicly on the chancellor search, education circles have buzzed with talk of the possibility since the AJC revealed in March that he was a serious contender for the job.
The former two-term governor recently finished a stint as President Donald Trump’s agriculture secretary and was one of the few Cabinet secretaries who remained in their jobs throughout the Republican’s stint in the White House.
Perdue’s critics say they’re concerned about the conservative stances he took while in office and want a veteran administrator is needed to shepherd the system. His allies point to his eight years as the state’s top executive and his leadership of the sprawling USDA and its roughly $140 billion-a-year budget.
Read the letter here:
We have always valued our relationship with the University System of Georgia and its member institutions. We appreciate the many opportunities we have had to work directly with you as you have continued building the University System into the world class organization it is today.
We have worked diligently with Board Chairman Shailendra and Regents Search Advisory Group Chairman Stelling at their direction. We spent hours with the University’s many constituency groups, including faculty, staff, students, and community members who all were passionate about the role of the Chancellor and its importance to the future success of education throughout the state.
We believe misinformation throughout the search no longer allows us to fulfill our obligation, and it is with great disappointment we resign from the Chancellor search going forward. We will not be discussing this search publicly.
We wish you great success in your retirement.
All the best,
Laurie C. Wilder