By Art Gallagher
Brookdale College President Peter Burnham has been suspended without pay due to a review of expenses that “revealed significant expenses and reimbursements associated with the President’s Office budget that may not be directly connected to Brookdale or are contrary to Brookdale’s adopted policies governing travel, mileage, and other reimbursable expenses,” according to a news release posted on the college’s website.
Dr. William Toms, PhD, a retired State Police investigator, has been appointed Acting President of the community college.
Additionally, the Board of Trustees hire an independent auditor to investigate all expenditures made from the President’s Office budget, including all expenses and reimbursements. The audit is due by the end of March and will cost no more than $12,500.
“We are conducting a comprehensive audit of the President’s Office and will release to the public the findings as soon as we can. This is a public institution and everyone from our Freeholders to our faculty to our taxpayers deserve answers,” said Howard Birdsall, Chairman of Brookdale’s Board of Trustees.
“Our highest obligation is to the truth and Dr. Toms is going to lead a very open and transparent process that gets us the answers we need. If something happened that shouldn’t have happened, we want to know what it was, how it happened, and how to prevent it from happening again. Dr. Toms has built an outstanding record of achievement during his career and has the perfect skill set to lead Brookdale through the challenges we face,” said Birdsall.
Freeholder John Curley first raised the issue of Burnham’s compensation and spending in a statement to MoreMonmouthMusings on February 16th.
”While I am appalled at the contract Dr. Burnham was given, I can’t help but wonder what other extravagances are in that budget,” said Curley, liaison to Brookdale. “It’s time we go through Brookdale’s budget line by line to see not just what the president is spending, but the other departments as well. A good hard look at waste in all public colleges and universities is long overdue.”
Way to go John!