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SPC budget transparency praised

LARGO — St. Petersburg College trustee Ken Burke commended college president Bill Law on Tuesday for the college's efforts at transparency in light of recent budget scrutiny.

At a board of trustees meeting, Burke said he was pleased that SPC posted its $145 million budget and other financial information online.

This month, the St. Petersburg Times reported the college took 58 days to supply it with a copy of the budget.

"I want to thank our president for responding in the proper manner to the heightened publicity our budget got this past few weeks and making sure the budget's on the website," Burke said at the monthly trustees meeting.

Trustees approved the budget in May. But the budget staff acknowledged that a complete document was not finished until July 11, three days before a copy was supplied to the Times. College officials say the budget was posted online on July 28.

Doug Duncan, senior vice president of administrative/business services and information technology, previously told the Times that expenses and personnel information for the line-item budget were uploaded to the finance system several weeks after the budget was approved.

On Tuesday, college officials maintained that the budget was complete when it was approved.

Trustee Dick Johnston posed two questions, saying he wanted to see the college "put this budget issue to death."

He asked if the budget was complete when trustees approved it in May. Law said yes. And he asked if there were any changes to the overall revenue and expenditures since July. Law said no.

Trustee Evelyn Bilirakis said she didn't understand the media scrutiny.

"I just can't understand why the St. Petersburg Times keeps calling us," she said. "What's the problem?"

Law told her the attention comes with being an important part of the community.

"I take it as a form of praise," Law said. "What we do matters in the lives of citizens."

Lorri Helfand can be reached at lorri@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4155.

For information about St. Petersburg College's budget, visit www.spcollege.edu and click on the budget links on the front page.

SPC budget transparency praised 08/16/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 16, 2011 8:00pm]
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