by Max Brantley
Evidence is mounting that UA President B. Alan Sugg has reached a decision on who to recommend to the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees to succeed Dr. I. Dodd Wilson, who's retiring as chancellor of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
Sugg's choice, sources say, is Daniel W. Rahn, president of the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta. His hiring presumably would require a significant pay increase for the job. Dr. Wilson makes $465,000, receives a $1,500 monthly housing allowance and drives a state car, a 1999 Dodge. Dr. Rahn's compensation apparently is in the $600,000 range. This Augusta news article provides some background and quite a few comments from local readers.
UA spokesman Ben Beaumont said he hoped to know something "soon," though no announcement or Board meeting had been set at last report.
Sugg made his choice from four finalists, reported earlier on the Blog.
The coming change has naturally sparked a buzz at UAMS, in part because the search committee that narrowed the list of applicants didn't include a couple of popular candidates who work at UAMS among the finalists. The Board of Trustees apparently encouraged an outside candidate, one with no ties that would make it difficult to make changes in departments deemed in need of change.
The faculty had an opportunity to meet all candidates and the UA Board also met each in closed session. Rahn was the last visitor, finishing his two-day Little Rock visit March 10.
Wilson plans to retire in June, though he has said he'd stay on as necessary to insure a smooth transition. Rahn reportedly wants to delay arrival here until January.
An admirer of Rahn says he "shook up the status quo" at the Georgia school, reversing its financial fortunes, working well with the Georgia legislature and demonstrating success as a fund-raiser. The suggestion was that Rahn will be expected to change some things at UAMS as well. He reportedly was drawn here because it's a capital city, with no need for airplane commutes to meet with legislators, and a new hospital that can grow. The state's new trauma system also offers opportunity to enhance the hospital's postion as a statewide medical magnet.
His pay is expected to be in the $700,000 range, a combination of regular and deferred compensation. The Board will likely meet to ratify Sugg's decision next Tuesday. Dr. David Gusick of Rochester, N.Y., reportedly was the runner-up in deliberations on the choice. Rahn's experience in the South was seen as a plus.