Board of Trustees

Rep. Scott Conklin to propose Penn State board of trustees reform

A local lawmaker will propose legislation next week that he said would “significantly reform” how Penn State’s board of trustees is run.

The proposed legislation by state Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Philipsburg, set to be announced Tuesday, was spurred by the recommendations from state Auditor General Jack Wagner. His report said Penn State’s governance needs reforming, starting with limiting the powers of the president.

Conklin has said he would seek to remove the university president as a voting member of the board of trustees, keep the president from being on committees, shrink the size of the board, and make the Right-to-Know Law apply to Penn State.

Conklin said he thinks the reforms would make Penn State more transparent and accountable.

Penn State spokesman David La Torre said the university welcomes the input from Conklin.

Trustees Chairwoman Karen Peetz has said her fellow board members will discuss Wagner’s recommendations, among other feedback, at a retreat in January.

Wagner, the state’s top governmental watchdog, has said the president’s post at Penn State is too powerful and that trustees should not be allowed to slide into high-ranking university positions, and vice versa. When he announced his recommendations, he called on lawmakers to take up the cause.

The state House of Representatives returns to work in January.