Inspector general to review Westfield State's finances - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Inspector general to review Westfield State's finances

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Airfare, exotic trips and lavish spending - those have been the rumors surrounding President of Westfield State Evan Dobelle for the past year.

"There's a lot of people who when change happens for whatever reason, they're not part of it and they get unhappy," Dobelle said at a special Board of Trustees meeting Thursday night.

Someone was unhappy enough to send a request to the office of the inspector general requesting they take a look at Westfield State's finances.

But Dobelle says trips he's taken have been done by the book.

"Nothing is valid but you have a responsibility to the citizens and the taxpayers to be responsive, and that's what we're trying to do."

The Board of Trustees held a special meeting Thursday to address a July 11 letter from the office of the inspector general, asking to see a collection of financial documents so they can conduct a review into university spending practices.

Chairman of the Board of Trustees John Flynn says they will comply.

"My hope is within a short time, the inspector general says this looks good and you're on the right path."

In the meantime, some people want to see the proof of Dobelle's claims that his spending is legit.

"The biggest concern is we don't know if it is or it isn't," said Westfield State professor and President of the faculty and librarian union Buzz Hoagland.

He says he wants to see it all in black and white.

"I really look forward to the transparency. I can't wait to see all the documentation that proves that I'm wrong and he's correct."

Flynn says those documents are in a draft stage and can't be released just yet, but they are taking steps.

"We will be responsive. This university means a lot to a lot of people that sit at this table."

Dobelle says he's confident the IG's review will clear any doubt surrounding his practices.

"At the end of the day, it's not going to amount to anything."

Details of where those exotic trips were and exactly what that lavish spending was have yet to be released publicly as the investigation gets underway.

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