Vice President for Financial Affairs, Kerry Kennedy, today resigned his position at the University of Alabama to take a lower–profile position at a University of Texas satellite campus in San Antonio.
In the manner of all troubled political appointees, Kennedy cited “family reasons” as the motive behind his sudden departure after less than one year on the job.
For the last several months, Kennedy has spearheaded Witt’s effort to commercialize the University of Alabama, restructuring its educational programs to mimic Wal-Mart. Reducing labor costs by mass firings (in Facilities Management, for example) and eliminating programs that do not “pay” have been key elements in Kennedy’s agenda.
Kennedy also directed the administration effort to drastically reduce medical benefits for faculty and staff.
So why is he leaving? The Tuscaloosa News is maintaining its policy of strict non-investigative journalism.
However, we at the Alabama Observer have our own theories. We know, for example, that Kennedy is named in a lawsuit agains the University claiming discrimination in the firing of several dozen employees earlier this year. We also know that Kennedy has been investigated in connection with the scandalous run-up in costs in the construction of the troubled Shelby Hall. Finally, we have heard from several inside sources that the Board of Trustees is troubled by alledged conflicts of interest in bidding for the rediculous $50 million expansion of the football stadium.
Perhaps Kennedy has decided to get out while he can. He’s a savvy operator; we can only assume he knows what he’s doing.
As for Witt, it is significant that this is the second of his high-level administrative appointees to skeedaddle. The first was Christopher Hinton, who was fired within a week of his appointment after this newspaper (The Alabama Observer) revealed he had been under legal investigation in North Carolina in connection with alledged financial malfeasance.
The Texas gang’s days at the Capstone may be drawing to a close. Let us hope Kennedy is not the last one to ride off into the sunset.