On Wednesday, May 8, the PennStater magazine announced the Pennsylvania Senate confirmed Gov. Tom Corbett’s nomination of Kathleen Casey to the Penn State Board of Trustees to replace the seat vacated by Michael DiBerardinis on
2012. Casey was initially
nominated in October 2012 but the Senate did not act on the nomination so
Corbett renominated her in February this year.
Casey is the former US Securities and Exchange commissioner, appointed by President George W. Bush in August 2006. She completed her 5-year term in 2011. She received a J.D. from George Mason University School of Law in 1993, a B.A. in International Politics from PSU in 1988, and was staff director and counsel to the the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee of the U.S. Senate.
Currently, she works as a Senior Advisor for Patomak Global Partners, which provides consulting on regulatory affairs, risk management, and compliance in Washington, DC. “Kathy’s financial background, oversight experience, and international perspective will make her an asset to Penn State’s (b)oard of (t)rustees,’’ Corbett said. “I am proud to nominate someone of her caliber.’’
Let's explore that international perspective for a moment....
In June 2009, during her term of the
SEC commissioner, Kathleen Casey began to travel the world, going to Israel, Japan, Switzerland, and France within a month. Travel records secured by JunketSleuth.com, through the federal Freedom of Information Act, showed she submitted $36.00 in questionable hotel charges for a single day for soda, cashews, and almonds, a telephone call from Japan for $64.00, a two night hotel stay in Switzerland that included a phone call for $213.00, and a one night stay in France included $308.00 room charge, $272.00 in meal charges, and $36.00 for mini bar charges. In November 2009, she paid $491 for a room at The Michelangelo in New York. Thirteen days later, she was back in , at a $393-a-night room at a New York Marriott, where she spent $78 and $45 on room service meals in the same day. New York
I don’t know about you, but I do NOT have a good feeling that our latest
PSU Trustee will have the University’s best interest at heart.
Currently, the University is throwing money around like it’s been grown on trees, and I’d like to know where
PSU is hiding this “Rainy Day Fund” that Rodney Erickson revealed to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
A former SEC official seems to be a good pick if your goal is to obfuscate the financial dealings of the Board.
Last summer and fall, former Auditor General Jack Wagner did a review of the Penn State By-Laws and recommended a number of changes to governance due to the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. Current Auditor General DePasquale supported the changes, which included:
-- Reduce the number of voting members on the Board from 32 to 21;
-- Establish a voting quorum of a majority of members, rather than 13 as it is now;
-- Remove the University President from the Board as a voting member; and,
-- Make the Governor an ex-officio non-voting member.
On March 18, 2013, Keith Masser, chairman of the Board of Trustees, James Broadhurst, Chairman,
PSU Governance and
Long-Range Planning Committee, Trustee Ira Lubert, Trustee Anthony Lubrano,
Robert Horst, former PSU Trustee,
and Auditor General Eugene DePasquale conducted a public hearing on governance
reform for Penn State Trustees. Also in
attendance were Chairman Lloyd Smucker (R-Lancaster), Minority Chairman Matthew
Smith (D-Allegheny) and Senators Michael Brubaker (R-Lancaster), Jake Corman
(R-Centre), Andrew Dinniman (R-Chester), Michael Folmer (R-Lebanon), and Sen.
John Yudichak (D-Luzerne).
Several issues were discussed:
--if the size of the board contributed to the powers being delegated to the president of the university;
--critical faults of the Freeh Report, and;
-- if the special investigative committee was unique and beyond the normal committees established by the Board.
Keith Masser explained that the Board agreed that an investigation of the university was needed, and the Board leadership at that time formulated a task force to lead the effort in selecting the law ﬁrm and the criteria under which the law ﬁrm operated. Ira Lubert added that the Board approved the special committee, and noted that ﬁrm acted independently of the Board and the members of the select committee in gathering the facts.
Auditor General DePasquale expected Penn State to have reform recommendations created by their May 3 BOT meeting in State College, PA.
Despite the Auditor General's recommendations, the Pennsylvania Senate approved Governor Corbett’s nomination of Kathleen Casey
NOW instead of
WAITING until the General Assembly addressed board governance.
The million dollar question is: why would we add another trustee to the board when reforms have stated the size of the board needs to be decreased?
This did not sit well with Senator Yudichak and it shouldn't sit well with PSU alumni.
Yudichak states, “the board has taken baby steps to revamp the structure of the board governance but they fall short of the reforms necessary to improve transparency and effectiveness of board governance.”
Tom Corbett knows
PSU needs governance reform,
yet he succeeds in filling a seat on the PSU
He must think
PSU alumni are a bunch of
bumpkins to think we wouldn't know what was
going on with this nomination.
This tells me that Corbett and the PSU BOT has a sense of “We’ll do whatever the heck we want and will not have to suffer any consequences.”
It's clear they just don't get it.
As Senator Yudichak stated, "Only the full acceptance of the necessary governance reform will move Penn State University forward, and I urge the Board of Trustees to recognize the will of its alumni base and embrace meaningful reform."