Board retreat costs more than $34,000
University pays facilitator Terry MacTaggart $15,000 to assist two-day discussions, help address challenges facing higher education
The Board of Visitors retreat last month cost more than double its original budget, according to receipts released last week.
The University is footing the more than $34,000 bill, with the initial $15,000 budget funded by the University endowment and the excess costs paid for by Board office funds set aside earlier in the annual budgeting process.
The addition of a facilitator, Terry MacTaggart, to help the Board address the challenges that face the University explains the majority of the $19,000 disparity — MacTaggart received a $15,000 fee for his work during the two-day retreat.
“It’s never okay to go over budget, but things happen and you have to deal with it,” University spokesperson Marian Anderfuren said.
The bill covered the cost of hotel rooms at the Omni Hotel in Richmond, food, transport and MacTaggart’s facilitation.
The retreat was specifically held in Richmond because the Board initially thought that Gov. Bob McDonnell would attend the event. When it was confirmed that the governor would not speak, the decision to hold the retreat in the capital had already been solidified.
Given the media frenzy surrounding University President Teresa Sullivan’s resignation and reinstatement during the summer, the Board chose to double the size of the room to accommodate a larger media presence, Board Secretary Susan Harris said.
Other added expenses included the costs of cookies, wine, beer, plated luncheons and dinners.
Board members said the retreat was productive despite the costs.
“I look forward to a very inclusive, collaborative and productive planning process over the course of this academic year,” said Frank B. Atkinson, a Board member and co-chair of the special committee on strategic planning.