Three months after the uproar over a $25,000 annual, unvouchered expense account for former Board of Regents President Robert Kennedy, the Higher Education Committee recently approved a bill which would eliminate such expense accounts and require state colleges and universities to document every expenditure by all employees. Those expenditures would then be open for public inspection under the state’s Freedom of Information Act.
House Bill 6605, “At Act Concerning Transparency of Expenses,” passed the Higher Education Committee today on a unanimous and bipartisan ‘consent’ vote; it now heads to the floor of the House of Representatives for consideration. If passed and signed into law, the new prohibition would take effect beginning July 1.
“I’m as stunned today as I was three months ago when I found out about that account. I believe the words I originally used were ‘stunned’ and ‘speechless’,” said state Senator Beth Bye (D-West Hartford), who is Senate Chairman of the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee. “I vowed then we would fix this terrible practice. It’s unfair. It’s unfair to the public, it’s unfair to the elected officials who were unaware of and now have to deal with this ugliness, and it’s unfair to higher education employees who work hard for a modest income and who are tarred with the same brush.”
State Senator Steve Cassano (D-Manchester), who is Senate Vice-Chairman of the Higher Education Committee, concurred.