Tensions High as Bentley and ASU Trustees Discuss Audit & Pres. Search

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By Catalina Trivino

The meeting lasted nearly 3 hours -- full of heated conversation between Governor Bentley and trustee members discussing the preliminary audit report's findings, the search for ASU new president... and what's next.

It was a war of words at Alabama State University as Governor Bentley told board of trustee members that they weren't taking their job seriously.

This all comes after an audit by Forsensic Strategic Solutions on the university's finances, which the Governor's Office had ordered.The Governor and Board went back and forth on whether to even discuss the audit.

"We called this meeting today to show our desire. Not to take over this process of searching for a new president. That is not our desire. I've got to run a state and I'm not interested in running ASU," Said Bentley.

Board member, Buford Crutcher says he was offended by the Governor, who told the board of trustees they needed to take responsibility.

"After being here so long, I'd don't have to do it. I dont get paid a penny for it, so it has to be something and I'd like to see this university move to the top," Said Crutcher.

And "the top" is a vision board members and the Governor want to see, so the university will continue the search for its new president.

The Governor says he will add another person to the presidential search committee -- while he never said who it would be, he said it would be a student. Board member, Marvin Wiggins, says he's still upset that the audit was released to the public before the trustees got to see it.

"If you're going to release information that you're going to consider confidential and private, you at least try to find the truth before you release them," Said Wiggins.

While the meeting was adjourned, there was no action taken on the breach of contract with Medicaid and alleged payments to family and friends of board members Elton Dean and Marvin Wiggins.

As far as the presidential search, names of applicants have not been released, but there are 11 finalists who will be narrowed down at the search committee's next meeting on November sixth.

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