Two UNT finance officials resign

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Two top-level finance officials at the University of North Texas have submitted letters of resignation to the university, citing personal reasons for their departures.

Andrew Harris, vice president for finance and administration, and Jean Bush, the senior associate vice president for finance who is on leave pending retirement, both resigned last Thursday, university President Neal Smatresk said Monday.

Tom McCoy, vice president for research and economic development, will temporarily oversee the Division of Finance and Administration, Smatresk said.

“He stepped in and, of course, as an urgent priority we are looking at filling those positions either on an interim or permanent basis so we can be assured we have stability in budgeting and finance,” Smatresk said.

The announcement was made to the university community Monday evening in an e-mail from Smatresk, who took over the president’s post on Feb. 3.

Harris joined UNT as vice president for finance and administration on Nov. 5, 2007, and oversaw the Division of Finance and Administration. According to the university’s website, the department is responsible for the university’s financial well-being and safety and oversees general budgeting, funds management, accounting, financial reporting, investments, police and parking and transportation, human resources, facilities and risk management.

Bush joined the university in 1983 as an accounting clerk and had a series of promotions throughout her tenure, with positions including budget manager, budget director and assistant vice president for business affairs and chief budget officer. As senior vice president for finance, she oversaw general budgeting, funds management, accounting, financial reporting and investments.

Smatresk received a third resignation last week, as well, but said the employee left because she had accepted another position.

In a Denton Record-Chronicle article Feb. 9 on budget problems within the UNT libraries, Smatresk hinted at budget problems at the university, saying the budget problems of the UNT Libraries were not unique to the department. At that time, he said he would be devoting significant amounts of time to looking at the university budget.

Smatresk said he intends to continue this learning process as he oversees the department changes.

“Obviously in addition to making it a top priority to find leadership for the division, I also personally need to understand our budget and what challenges we face with the depth of the knowledge that I need so we can proceed to implement our plan for the upcoming year,” he said.

The upcoming challenges of understanding the budget and finding new leadership are opportunities, Smatresk said, noting he wants to build a strong financial department.

“I’m going to make sure what we do conforms to national best processes, and I look forward to constructing a really transparent Budget Office, and that the types of data we need are readily available because information is key to what you can accomplish,” he said.

JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @JennaFDuncan.


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