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EDITORIAL: Audit Findings Prompt More Controls At UConn [The Hartford Courant :: ]
[August 30, 2014]

EDITORIAL: Audit Findings Prompt More Controls At UConn [The Hartford Courant :: ]

(Hartford Courant (CT) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Aug. 30--A review by state auditors of the budget years ending in June 2010 and June 2011 reveals some surprising examples of lax financial management at UConn.

As it should, the University of Connecticut has either fixed, or made plans to fix, problems identified by the auditors. But the bad practices unearthed by the audit are still hard to explain.

For example, UConn wasted more than $900,000 over three years by paying licensing fees on system software that it was unable to use for most of that time until the rest of its aging financial system was modernized.

What was the point of acquiring the SciQuest software if it was just going to languish? The audit, released Wednesday, also found that the university did not sufficiently vet its new financial system, Kuali, before entering into a $10 million contract.

UConn failed "to conduct a formal, well-documented" selection process to choose Kuali. Nor does it appear that the board of trustees ever approved the project, the auditors said.

Without a formal process, "more advantageous alternatives may have been overlooked," the auditors said, with auditor John Geragosian adding, "Clearly, that raises a lot of flags: cost, favoritism ..." The auditors recommended more stringent controls -- such as maximum pay levels -- on salaries paid to professors and other professional positions.

UConn has been criticized in recent years for high salaries paid to top administrators such as former university police chief Robert Hudd, who was paid almost $256,000 a year.

"You should have a process in place and salary ranges that are clear. And if you are going to exceed them, you should seek board approval," Mr. Geragosian said.

Going forward, the university will conduct formal selection processes for major information technology acquisitions. Such projects will be subject to board of trustees' approval.

Salary ranges for positions that don't now have them will be a subject for collective bargaining in the next round, which occurs next year.

This is good. It's just too bad that money had to be wasted before UConn gets to that point.

___ (c)2014 The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.) Visit The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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