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Chief Operating Officer to leave at semester’s end

by Karen A. Grava - February 21, 2006

Linda Flaherty-Goldsmith, the University’s first chief operating officer, has resigned and will leave UConn at the end of the spring semester.

Flaherty-Goldsmith says she must return to Alabama to care for her 85-year-old mother. She will, however, stay at the University until May and will serve as a consultant until a permanent replacement is hired for her position.

President Philip E. Austin has appointed Barry Feldman as interim COO. Feldman, who holds a Ph.D. from UConn in political science, recently retired as the West Hartford town manager. He is an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Public Policy and also at Trinity College.

Flaherty-Goldsmith’s resignation is not a surprise, Austin says. At the time of her appointment in July 2003, she said there was a possibility that family responsibilities – particularly her mother’s growing need for a caregiver nearby – might require that she return to Alabama in a few years.

Her resignation is a loss to UConn.

“In less than three years, Linda has worked tirelessly and effectively to strengthen our operations in fields ranging from human resources to information technology,” says Austin.

“Thanks to her efforts, we have created important synergies between the Storrs-based programs and the Health Center through development of a quality improvement program aimed at streamlining processes and reducing redundancies between the campuses.”

Austin notes that Flaherty-Goldsmith is responsible for many cost-saving and cost-avoidance programs. One action she took – placing telecommunications under one University-wide leader – alone produced annual savings between $1.5 and $2.0 million.

“In all activities under her direction, Linda has helped a dedicated staff reach its full potential, and recruited some excellent new additions,” says Austin.

“In the area of greatest significance during her time here – management of our construction effort – Linda identified weaknesses, led the effort to resolve problems, aggressively pursued cost recoveries, and, most important, helped create new management, oversight, and reporting mechanisms that will keep the construction program on the right course.”

Flaherty-Goldsmith was the University’s first chief operating officer and was hired after Austin proposed a structure that included a chief financial officer, a chief operating officer, and a provost/vice president for academic affairs.

A search committee of students, faculty, and staff from the Storrs-based programs and the Health Center will be named shortly, Austin says. The group will conduct a national search.

Feldman, who was the town manager in West Hartford for more than 20 years and oversaw much of its growth, will work part time at the University until Flaherty-Goldsmith leaves. West Hartford has long been considered one of the best managed municipalities in the state.

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