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In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Faylene vs. Colleen

Of all the Big Three universities governing boards, the trustees
on the MSU Board have always provided the most and the best political
intrigue over the years. Maybe it's the water they drink from the Red
Cedar River but whatever it is, the back-biting, cat-fighting and
in-fighting never fails to entertain.
Recently the Faylene vs. Colleen scrum has been interesting as the
two female Democrats, Faylene Owen and Colleen McNamara, were locked in
a battle over McNamara's renomination to the board.
With almost twenty years of service, it was assumed Mc would win
going away. You never assume anything when it comes to the Green and
White board.
Here's the story line that nobody really wants to confirm. Ms.
Owen would like to be board chair woman but to do that she has to get
rid of fellow Democrat Joel Ferguson who sits in that spot. Ms.
McNamara is close to Joel and would never flip a vote from him.
So the Owen strategy was: Get rid of McNamara by denying her a
spot on the ticket at the state democratic convention.
Prior to this, someone let it be known that Ms. Owen, who chairs
the board finance committee, was having her own financial problems
namely she and her former governor candidate hubby Larry were in
bankruptcy. Sources wondered to the media, how did that look to have a
person in the red running the finance committee?
Now there is a web site suggesting other more nefarious
allegations surrounding the Owens. This could get messy.
Anyway, by the time McNamara figured out she was in trouble it was
almost too late. That resulted in a flurry of back and forth phone
calls to save her neck and finally the UAW President Bob King declared
McNamara saved and that was that.
So why did Ms. Owen think it was time for change?
"I sort of feel, and even for myself, that 16 years is a very long
timeā€¦it's time that we have younger folks on all three of these boards."
Nice spin, but not very convincing.
Did you want to get McNamara out so you could become chair?
"No, not guilty," she retorted.
Are you interested in being chair?
"If the time comes, but I'm happy where I'm at" as chair of finance.
End of story?
Not on your life. Remember this is the MSU Board where memories
are long and the family feud never ends.

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