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WTVP board set to choose new CEO on March 20

WTVP's studios are located in downtown Peoria.
Tim Shelley
WTVP's studios are located in downtown Peoria.

WTVP's board of trustees is set to select a new president and CEO for the public television station at a special meeting next week.

Board chairman John Wieland said the more than 70 applications received were pared down to three finalists. Those candidates were interviewed in Peoria on Saturday.

Wieland said he expects a roughly 30-minute closed session next Wednesday at 6 p.m., possibly to be followed by a reception for the station's new executive.

Marketing and communications director Julie Sanders has served as the station's interim manager since last fall. Former president and CEO Lesley Matuszak resigned in September and died by suicide a day later.

The station accused her and former finance and human resources director Lin McLaughlin of financial impropriety.

Wieland said the roughly $373,000 of "non operational expenses" cited in the station's latest audit represent potential misuse of funds in the 2023 fiscal year, but he said that number is also "very aggressive," with any spending even slightly suspect going into the category.

The chairman said he doesn't have new information on the status of the criminal investigation, but he said he may learn more when an investigator is set to speak with auditors from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's inspector general's office.

Those auditors are currently at WTVP looking into the station's finances and accounting to determine if the station received a larger Community Service Grant than was merited due to improperly reported donation income. Wieland has said advertising revenues from Peoria magazine were mixing with donations to the public television station.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is withholding the fiscal year 2024 CSG from WTVP until the auditing process is completed and any required corrective actions are taken.

Wieland said Tuesday that he's recently had productive conversations with top officials from the CPB, PBS, and the CPB inspector general's office.

The station is hiring on a part-time accountant to help board treasurer Helen Barrick manage the station's books. Wieland said other hires, like a new development director, are on hold for now.

WTVP serves the Peoria, Bloomington, and Galesburg areas with PBS and local programming. It is not affiliated with WCBU.

Tim is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.