|December 11, 2012 09:52 AM
|Representative Scott Conklin
|All House members
|CONKLIN - Penn State Reform Package
|In the near future, I plan to introduce a legislative package consisting of recommendations made by a report compiled by the Auditor General’s Office, titled “Recommendations for Governance Reform at The Pennsylvania State University after the Child Sex Abuse Scandal.”
As you know, the Jerry Sandusky case raised a multitude of issues including the possibility of a conspiracy involving high ranking Penn State officials. Recently, Auditor General Jack Wagner released a special report titled, “Recommendations for Governance Reform at The Pennsylvania State University after the Child Sex Abuse Scandal,” which focused on the lack of transparency at Penn State caused by the composition and operation of its governance, specifically the Board of Trustees. One the greatest points of contention noted in the report is the Governor’s role as a voting member on the Board of Trustees.
In order to resolve the problems noted in the report, I will be introducing a four-bill package that will implement the legislative recommendations made by the Auditor General’s report.
Introduced as HB299
|The first bill of the four bills amends the Act of February 22, 1855 (P.L. 46, No. 50), by increasing the composition of the Board of Trustees of Penn State from thirteen to twenty-two trustees- eighteen voting trustees, three voting trustees ex officio and one non-voting ex officio- that reflect the overall interests and expertise of the following entities:
In addition, the bill establishes a simple majority of the voting members of the Board of Trustees as a quorum as opposed to the current number of seven. The legislation also creates three year terms and aggregate term limits of nine years for members of the Board of Trustees over the course of their lifetime. Finally, the bill mandates that the provisions of the act are applicable to both current and prospective members of The Pennsylvania State University Board of Trustees.
Introduced as HB310
|The second bill in the package amends the Act of March 24, 1905 (P.L.50, No.35), by making additional revisions to the structure of Pennsylvania State University’s Board of Trustees. Specifically, this measure prohibits the university president from serving as an officer of the Board of Trustees or on any executive committees, standing committees, special committees or subcommittees of the Board. Also, it obliges the Governor, the Secretary of Education, the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of Conservation and Natural Resources to serve on the Board of Trustees in an ex-officio capacity, with the Governor serving as non-voting member. In addition, this bills requires any individual who has served in the capacity of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Auditor General or State Treasurer to wait until at least four years have elapsed following their official departure from that office prior to serving on the board of trustees. Finally, the measure mandates that the officers of the board be “elected” annually as opposed to “chosen” annually, as the law currently states.
Introduced as HB311
|The third bill in the package amends the Right-to-Know Law by subjecting Temple University, The University of Pittsburgh, Lincoln University, Pennsylvania State University, the Pennsylvania College of Technology, and their graduate schools, medical schools, law schools, continental and international branch campuses, and any associated hospital, medical center, institute, facility, subsidiary, or subordinate unit to all provisions of the law. The bill also provides exceptions for research and development information, the identity of donors, unpublished materials, and examinations and testing. Lastly, the bill requires a State-related institution and its affiliates to file reports by May 30th of each year with the Governor’s Office, the General Assembly, the Auditor General, and the State Library, which include the following:
Introduced as HB312
|The final bill in the package amends Chapter 11 (Ethics and Financial Disclosure) of Title 65 (Public Officers) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes by subjecting State-related institutions and their affiliates to the provisions of this chapter. Specifically, any individual employed by a State-related institutions and their affiliates must file a statement of financial interests with the State Ethics Commission. In addition, no individual employed by a State-related institutions and their affiliates shall engage in conduct that constitutes a conflict of interest including:
It is imperative that we enact the measures necessary to establish transparency at all of our state-related institutions. In addition, we must alter the Board of Trustees at Penn State to ensure that no incidents and heinous acts, such as those committed by Jerry Sandusky, occur and to eliminate the potential for any conspiracy or cover-up at Penn State. By creating an open window into the operation of Pennsylvania State University, we will bring the necessary healing to the Penn State community and put an end to any latent collusion or malfeasance.