"I would've voted to downgrade us had I been on that (
Young was referring to a recent downgrade by Moody's of ASU's credit rating -- the third such downgrade in nine months. Prior to that action, Moody's held a conference call with ASU officials, including Young and university president
Chief among those concerns was ASU's significant debt and running yearly deficits.
"Right now, if we continued going at the rate we were going, we wouldn't be able to pay our debt service for the next year and a half," Young told the executive committee. "I'm not sure how we got into this shape, but we have to figure out a way out of it."
Young and other trustees noted again that the forensic audit of the school is a major factor in its problems. That audit, which Young said was approved by the ASU board when Gov.
A preliminary report released last October by the auditing firm raised serious questions, and that report, along with the uncertainty of what a final report will hold, was cited by Moody's in all of its downgrades.
"We have to get a final report," Young said. "It's that simple. I don't care what it says, who gets indicted, whatever -- we have to get something final so we can fix the problems and move forward. Otherwise, it's going to continue to hurt us. The unknown is worse."
But as trustee
In fiscal year 2013, which ended last October, ASU ran a deficit of
But that is easier said than done.
Boyd presented the board with a number of hires that she and her staff have deemed "critical hires," including personnel in the school's information technology department that could help it avoid a
"These are not random people we're bringing in here," Boyd said. "These are necessary hires for the university. They're critical to the daily operations. We have to operate and serve the students."
Trustees went through the proposed hires with a fine-tooth comb, and similarly picked through other expenses.
In one terse exchange that lasted several minutes and took on the appearance of a cross-examination at times, trustee
Wiggins claimed Boyd might be in violation of state law because she is often driven to events by ASU campus police officers -- an expense Wiggins estimated to be over
"You can do one or the other but you can't do both," Wiggins told Boyd.
Boyd fired back: "That's fine. I'll just walk."
In the middle of the search for savings, Wiggins also proposed a
But other trustees, Young in particular, were skeptical of its chances.
Asked about the exchange with Wiggins after the meeting, Boyd said, "He had questions, and I guess this is the place for those. I have nothing to hide."
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