HARRISBURG - The former head of the fund-raising arm of Pennsylvania's troubled public student-loan agency said yesterday that an arbitrator should overturn his dismissal.
Michael H. Hershock, fired in March as part-time chief executive of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Foundation Inc., said he had asked the American Arbitration Association to order that his $150,000 salary be paid through the first three months of next year. All told, he seeks $189,000 plus legal expenses.
"We tried repeatedly over the last few months to discuss and settle this and got no reasonable response," Hershock said during a news conference at his lawyer's office.
The foundation board cited Hershock's expenses as the reason for firing him.
"The board of directors found that some of his explanations for some of the expenses he incurred were inadequate," foundation spokesman Keith New said. New said the expenses had included satellite-television work at Hershock's fly-fishing cabin in New Mexico and a trip to Alberta, Canada.
He declined to comment on Hershock's arbitration filing.
But Hershock said the board had been aware of most of his expenses, which he said were reasonable and for legitimate foundation business.
In a filing with the arbitration association, Hershock said his expenses over seven years totaled $15,100.
He said the board had wanted to get rid of him as part of a move to shut down the foundation, which he helped start in 2001. The foundation has provided millions of dollars in grants to Pennsylvania nursing students, with the largest portion of its donations coming from the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency.
New said the foundation board was considering contingency plans to shut down the foundation if donor money dried up in the next several years.
PHEAA has come under fire in recent years for the salaries of its executives and spending on lavish retreats and other items.