Motlow State Community College President Tony Kinkel Resigns Amid Complaints About His Leadership

Motlow State Community College President Tony Kinkel resigned this week before the release of a report highly critical of his job performance.

The report included the findings of an investigation that the Tennessee Board of Regents undertook because of complaints about Kinkel, who was appointed president just two years ago after serving as president of a technical college in Kansas.

Released Wednesday, the report found that “the tone being set at the top reflects autocratic management, negativity, and undue pressure, causing long-term employees to seek other employment.”

Motlow State has campuses in Smyrna, Moore County/Tullahoma, McMinnville and Fayatteville.

In his resignation letter Tuesday, Kinkel didn’t refer directly to the investigation and expressed “deep anguish” over his decision to resign.

“With legislation changing the Board of Regents, the resignation of Chancellor John Morgan, and the departure of the Vice Chancellors, I respect that the Board is moving in a new direction,” he wrote. “We all work at the pleasure of the Board and I support their right to chart a different course for a system that is changing.”

His resignation is effective Sept. 30 and he is on annual and administrative leave until then.

In his letter, Kinkel listed Motlow’s accomplishments under his direction, including being the fastest growing college in the state two years in a row. But the report on his job performance shows that many faculty and staff were deeply unsatisfied with Kinkel’s leadership.

The report said that “the climate and morale on all four campuses were described in negative terms by most employees interviewed.” The report also said that Kinkel tried to interfere with the investigation, including pressuring faculty and staff to come to his defense.

After one employee refused Kinkel’s request to complain about being interviewed as part of the investigation, Kinkel “told the employee that the employee was making the President’s family ‘pack our bags’ if they did not support him,” the report said. “He asked another employee to speak on his behalf to TBR, and they also refused. He asked the employee who else would support him, and they said that they did not know anyone who would do so. The President became angry, and tried to pressure them with various comments, including comments about his family and other comments the employee said were uncomfortable. The employee recommended that he resign.”


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