YSU Task force decides to keep meeting

Some of the auditor's 168 recommendations already have been implemented.
YOUNGSTOWN -- A group formed 18 months ago to review Youngstown State University's operations will continue meeting to make sure its plans are implemented.
The 27-member executive committee of the YSU Operations Improvement Task Force met this morning and decided to stay intact and not to disband.
"This has been a very worthwhile process," said William J. Bresnahan, president of Hynes Industries Inc. of Austintown and task force chairman. "We're all going to be better off and the community is going to be better off."
The task force agreed to meet twice a year to hear updates on the university's progress.
YSU President David Sweet formed the group in October 2000 to oversee a study of the university's operations, focusing on fiscal issues, physical plant, employment, technology and student services.
Members of group: The group, made up of business, community and YSU leaders, oversaw state Auditor Jim Petro's performance review of YSU, the first of its kind in Ohio for a public university. The review, released last May, included 168 recommendations to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of campus operations.
Since then, YSU staff has identified 16 of the recommendations as top priority. The university plans to set aside nearly $5 million to implement some of the recommendations.
"We believe we've made good progress to this point," said Dr. G.L. Mears, YSU executive vice president and chairman of a committee in charge of implementing the auditor's recommendations.
Many of the recommendations have either already been implemented or are close, such as developing a comprehensive enrollment management strategy and building up budget reserves, he said.
"I am very pleased by the process we have come through here," Sweet said. "I think the auditor will be pleased."
At the same time, Sweet cautioned that the state's budget crisis looms like a black cloud on the horizon. YSU raised tuition 5.5 percent for spring semester and will increase it 8.9 percent more for fall semester in response to a $3 million cut in state funds.

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