Results of WSU investigation into Dobelle's spending won't be re - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

Results of WSU investigation into Dobelle's spending won't be released

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WESTFIELD, MA (WSHM) -

After months of controversy and nearly two hours in executive session Monday, the Westfield State University board of trustees will not be releasing the results of an investigation into the former president's spending.

The board determined that because former President Evan Dobelle retired, no action needed to be taken and the results of the investigation would not be released.

"The additional report was asked for in terms of an employment decision. That employment decision is now moot. President Dobelle retired Nov. 8," said Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Jack Flynn. 

The release of the investigation was expected to cap off a months-long saga of controversy that surrounded Dobelle.

The president was there for five years and is accused of spending thousands of university dollars on lavish personal expenses.

Monday night the board appointed Dr. Elizabeth Preston as interim president. She had been serving as Vice President of Academic Affairs.

She says there's more on the university's horizon including a long-awaited science center.

"The financing plan will be approved in early Dec. and we're moving forward on that so we're very excited," she said. 

The months of controversy could also change the way the university handles spending and travel including reducing the amount of university credit cards from 40 down to five and requiring all travel be booked through one central office.

Now the board says they want to move on with Dr. Preston as president and will take their time in finding a permanent one.

"I would like to see some of these investigations get closed up and put behind us and be able to talk to candidates without a lot of this stuff happening," Flynn said. 

Over the past six weeks the legal firm charged with the investigation interviewed witnesses and conducted a financial analysis among other steps taken.

The controversy started back in August when an initial report was released stating that Dobelle mixed both personal and business expenses on the university's credit card.

In October, after meeting for nearly 10 hours, the board voted to place Dobelle on paid administrative leave.

Nearly a week after that, Dobelle and his lawyer filed a lawsuit against the board stating they violated Dobelle's legal rights when they hired an auditor without full approval from all members.

The board did not say how much the university spent to get that report done.

Meantime, Dobelle is asking that the university also pay for his legal fees throughout all of this.

That request has been sent to the state attorney general.

 

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