Westfield St. president seeks extension for reportAP , Associated Press
Oct. 3, 2013 9:35 PM ET
WESTFIELD, Mass. (AP) — Westfield State University President Evan Dobelle is asking state education officials for more time to provide detailed explanations of his travel expenses amid an inquiry about his spending.
The Springfield Republican reported Thursday (http://bit.ly/1dYwz7q ) that Dobelle's lawyer Ross Garber asked state Higher Education Commissioner Richard Freeland for an extension until Monday. Garber said Dobelle was working on a response but because of the volume of information wasn't able to complete it by Thursday's deadline.
Westfield State's auditors found in August that Dobelle and other top university officials violated travel and credit card policies. There was no allegation of fraud, but auditors said expense record-keeping was poor.
Dobelle said that any improper personal expenses were unintentional and had been repaid and that use of credit cards followed past practices.
At a public meeting of the state Board of Higher Education last month, Freeland told Westfield State trustees that Dobelle's travel spending showed "a pattern of seemingly excessive and indulgent personal and professional expenses."
Dobelle told reporters before that meeting he had no intention of leaving the job. He said the spending was "strategically planned" and resulted in a significant return on investment for the university.
The power to hire or fire the leader of a state university lies with its trustees. Westfield trustees chairman Jack Flynn has said the board would address the matter at its Oct. 24 meeting, weighing the alleged violations and Dobelle's achievements in his six years as president.
The Republican reported that trustee Kevin Queenin has asked Flynn to move the meeting up to Oct. 16.
Information from: The Springfield (Mass.) Republican, http://www.masslive.com/news/