Incoming UW-Parkside chancellor Robert Felner has stepped down amidst a federal probe at old current college in which he's accused of mishandling a half million dollars in federal grant money. Robert Felner was supposed to start at the Kenosha campus July first. But last Saturday, media reports surfaced about a probe at Louisville's College of Education and Human Development, where Felner was the dean since 2003. He told the UW about it the next day.
State Representative Steve Nass (R-Whitewater), who chairs the Committee on Colleges and Universities, praised the UW system for its rapid response surrounding the incident. However he's critical of UW choosing not to release records regarding Felner's background check.
"That in itself is a huge problem because it screams out to me that somebody may be hiding something. Hopefully not, but we need to get to every detail so we don't make these mistakes again."
UW spokesman David Giroux insists his school never knew about the investigation until told by Felner.
They hired a private search firm EFL Associates to conduct the search and screen of the UW-Parkside position. Nass asserts a possible financial incentive for such companies to rubber stamp candidates because they receive a percentage of the applicant's incoming salary. Nass says the hiring of new chancellors at Green Bay and River Falls should be held up, until it's known what went wrong with Parkside. EFL was not used not used with recent chancellor hires Biddy Martin at UW-Madison and Richard Telfner at UW-Whitewater.