Wednesday, February 17, 2010

State to Audit the University of California

To all those who worked so hard to begin this important work, THANK YOU. It is one very necessary step along the path to restoring UC!
State to Audit the University of California
Committee approves audit request by Senator Yee

SACRAMENTO – The finances of the University of California will finally be examined by the state auditor as a result of an official request by Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo). After several improprieties and poor decision-making by UC executives, the Joint Legislative Audit Committee (JLAC) today unanimously (10-0) approved Yee’s request.

“Unfortunately, not even one month can pass without another scandal plaguing our university,” said Yee, who is an alumnus of UC. “A comprehensive state audit will help further uncover the extent of the waste, fraud, and abuse within the UC, and finally hold university executives accountable.”

“The UC administration expects taxpayers and students to foot the bill without asking any questions,” said Yee. “It is long overdue for the UC administration to start acting like a public institution and not a private country club.”

Among the requests of the state auditor will be to: identify the sources of UC’s public funding; review and evaluate the policies and practices UC uses to track and allocate public funds; determine how the UC has spent its state appropriation, student fees, and funds from the federal government; evaluate UC’s practices for non-salary expenditures including travel, consultants, and entertainment; assess expenditures for instruction and identify the average amount per student UC spends on instruction; determine what funds are restricted and how; and examine auxiliary organizations, including expenditures.

Testifying in support of the audit included individuals from the California Federation of Teachers, University Council-American Federation of Teachers, University Professional and Technical Employees, California Labor Federation, California Nurses Association, and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees

Yee has long fought for greater accountability and transparency at the UC. In 2007, Yee passed SB 190 to end the Regents’ practice of making executive compensation decisions behind closed doors without public comment or disclosure. Also in 2007, Yee passed legislation to require greater public oversight of the UC Retirement Plan. However, the Regents have ignored the resolution and refuse to give workers and retirees a voice on their pensions.

In 2006, Yee passed a bill to provide greater speech and journalism protections for UC students, and in 2008, he passed another bill to extend such protections to employees. However, the Regents did not officially adopt the speech protection policies until last year. In 2009, the Legislature overwhelmingly approved three bills authored by Yee to freeze executive pay during bad budget years, subject campus auxiliary organizations to the California Public Records Act, and provide legal protections to employees who report waste, fraud, and abuse. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Los Angeles) vetoed all three bills.


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