Friday, March 6, 2009
James Preston has been named head of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency Foundation. He is already President and CEO of PHEAA. Members of the PHEAA board say they're confident cost-cutting trends will continue at the operation, despite this week's firing of now former President and CEO Michael Hershock. Hershock earned $150,000 a year in the part-time post before being fired on Monday for racking up excessive expenditures. Preston will not take any extra pay to run the fundraising arm of the agency. State Senator Sean Logan of Allegheny County is the vice chairman of PHEAA's board. He says everyone is looking to cut costs and Hershock clearly wasn't on the same page, pointing to the CEO's decision to stay at the Four Seasons during a fundraising trip to New York City. Logan says, “I don't care if he came out of that potential donor meeting with a million dollars. He still could have saved some money by staying somewhere cheaper.” He went on to say, “Have a meeting at the Four Seasons. Have a lunch at the Four Seasons, have a dinner-whatever that entailed. But to spend a thousand dollars for the stay that night...I mean, what kind of room is it?” Logan says he's confident Hershock's firing will send a message to employees that excessive spending won't be tolerated.