Finance - December 21, 2012

State System of Higher Education official leaving post

The chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education will be leaving the job for a position in Washington, D.C.  John Cavanaugh has been chancellor since July 2008 and will be leaving at the end of February 2013.  He currently oversees the 14 state universities, which has about 115,000 students and over 5,000 faculty members.  He has accepted a position at the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area; which is a group that advocates for 14 schools in the D.C. area.  The Consortium’s current president and CEO, John Childers, is retiring.

Cavanaugh’s resignation comes at a time of transition for State System as it faces increasing reductions in state funding and a contract dispute with faculty.  The ongoing faculty dispute is the longest in the organizations thirty year history. Faculty had suspended any strike plans to allow the fall semester to conclude.  Contract negotiations are set to resume on January 4, 2013. Executive vice chancellor Peter Garland will serve as acting chancellor, he currently functions as the chief operating officer in his duties as vice chancellor. 


PennWATCH website goes live

On Thursday, Governor Tom Corbett unveiled the new PennWATCH website, designed to host information that is legally public under the state’s right-to-know law.  The Governor Corbett’s office has received thousands of requests since he took office and he noted that this could be the first place people check before filing a request.  The site contains information on the state budget, spending, revenue and employees.  State employees are allowed to ask that their information be left off of the searchable database for a number of reasons provided for in the right-to-know law.  Currently the Office of Administration has approved about 200 exemptions.

Governor Corbett also said that the site was developed by state employees and not a private contractor; hoping that the site provides some of the transparency that residents of the Commonwealth are increasingly seeking.  He’s hoping for a boost in trust in the government.