The Penn State Board of Trustees will once again be under scrutiny, as it will be the subject of a public hearing held by the State Government Committee of the Pennsylvania Senate today.
Sen. Lloyd Smucker , chair of the committee, said the purpose of the hearing is to review the overall governance of the board. Topics will include things such as the size of the board, the number of voting members and how members are appointed, Smucker, R-Lancaster and York, said
This will likely be the first of two or three hearings on the subject, Scott Sikorski , legislative director for committee member Sen. Jake Corman , R-Centre, said.
The committee will ask Auditor General Eugene DePasquale to speak about former auditor general Jack Wagner’s report on the Penn State Board of Trustees, and Penn State will have an opportunity to respond, Sikorski said.
Wagner’s report outlined problems related to the structure of the board, calling for a reduction in the size of the board and the reevaluation of the voting status of the university president and the state governor.
Trustee Anthony Lubrano and former trustee Robert Horst will also be testifying, Smucker said. All those testifying were asked to do so, but are participating willingly, Smucker said.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to express our thoughts before the Senate on the structure, operations, size and procedures related to the board — all of which have gathered much public interest,” Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers said.
“A number of recommendations from the auditor general's report have been accepted by the committee,” Powers said.
The process of reviewing and incorporating the recommendations is ongoing, Powers said.
Jim Broadhurst , chair of Board of Trustee’s Committee on Governance and Long-Range Planning, will be speaking on behalf of the board’s official position on governance today, Powers said.
Smucker said the committee is looking forward to hearing the results of the board’s internal examination.
If the committee is not satisfied with the progress that the board has made on its own, legislation will be introduced to correct this, Smucker said.
Smucker said the state has the right and a responsibility to review what happens at Penn State because of the “long-standing relationship between the university and the commonwealth” and because the university receives state funding. The three other Pennsylvania state-related schools are subject to similar review, Smucker said.
The hearing, open to the public, will be held at 10:30 a.m. today in Hearing Room 1 at the Capitol Complex in Harrisburg.