Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Still Opaque?

State auditor says UC’s Napolitano has not implemented transparency reforms

Nanette Asimov, Feb. 6, 2019, San Francisco Chronicle

Nearly a year after a deadline for the University of California to overhaul business practices at its headquarters, UC President Janet Napolitano has made improvements but is still doing business in a way that lets her office amass “virtually an unlimited amount” of money.

That’s the conclusion of a new report from state Auditor Elaine Howle, who has monitored UC’s progress since a 2017 audit found the president’s office had set aside $175 million in reserves without properly disclosing them to the UC Board of Regents. Napolitano was supposed to put policies in place by last April to limit reserves and demonstrate how the public university would return money to campuses, among other fixes. The audit found that $32 million of the reserves came from fees paid by campuses that could have been spent on students and that much of it should go back to the campuses.

“We are still concerned about the lack of sufficient transparency related to fund balance amounts,” totaling $122 million for seven specific programs, in Napolitano’s budget for the current fiscal year, Howle wrote in a report released Tuesday that assessed UC’s progress as of October. “Perhaps of greater concern, the absence of sufficient reserve policies allows the office of the president to retain and maintain virtually an unlimited amount of fund balances and reserves.”

Howle added that the president’s office “continues to lack sufficient transparency that would allow the governor and the legislature to understand what fund balance awards are available to reallocate to campuses.”


Note: The report at this moment does not seem to be on the state auditor's website.

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