SCOTT O. FOZARD ‘89
I am pleased to have the opportunity to introduce myself to my fellow alumni. I am a certified public accountant living in State College with my wife and two children. My experience comes from over 20 years in public accounting providing business advisory services to small and mid-sized companies. I now provide CFO outsourcing services to businesses.
I can tell you about positions, volunteering, involvement at church, leadership roles, and so on. But traditional biographies don’t provide what you need to identify your best representative in this election. Recent events made it painfully clear that impressive resumes don’t tell someone’s story, who they really are, whether they have an agenda, or can handle the unexpected. Our Board is filled with impressive resumes yet they have landed us exactly where we are now.
To get to know me, let’s talk about character, unwavering ethics, leadership based on core principles and not an agenda, and doing what is right regardless of personal consequences. My core principles are built on integrity, common sense, fairness, accountability, honesty and loyalty.
I’m not an “insider”. No named buildings or large endowments. I am not one of the rich and powerful and don’t represent big money interests. These people aren’t inherently problematic, but we have too many already and that promotes group-think.
Who am I? That’s easy, I am you and just like the vast majority of Penn State stakeholders who are looking for common sense and renewed integrity from our leaders.
Distinguishing one candidate’s positions from another’s in this year’s election is going to be extremely challenging because there are so many issues and so many things about which candidates can talk. Many candidates may talk about specific issues with the Board, the treatment of Joe Paterno, the Sandusky scandal, and we can go on. I am going to focus on the broader issues and the fundamental principles of change that our leadership must adopt.
Transparency – The Board must be more open. The leadership and decision making structures do not support openness and discussion. Dissention appears to be swept under the rug or hidden in a closet. Board actions must be better communicated and be more transparent.
Leadership reform – If you have paid any attention to the new mantra of “openness” being espoused by the Board and University leadership, I hope that you are as frustrated as I am. Leadership should not be constantly reactionary, yet that is exactly how our leadership has acted and continues to act. Leadership is about establishing a proactive vision that creates an unshakeable foundation for decision making that doesn’t perpetuate these knee-jerk responses we are seeing. Look at every action that current leadership has taken and “reactionary” is the only word that fits.
Board structure – There are three simple issues: too many members for effective leadership; term limits appear too long and many current members are exempt; and, Board bylaws need significant restructuring (i.e., member selection and transparency).