UC Office of the President fails to complete budget on time

JORDAN KNOWLES / AGGIE FILE

UC system falling behind on implementing auditor’s recommendations from 2017

The California State Auditor’s one-year evaluation of the University of California found that the UC did not implement all the recommendations from its 2017 audit and that the UC Office of the President failed to complete its budget on time.

The 2017 audit found questionable financial practices as well as millions of unreported dollars. The State Auditor made 10 recommendations for the UC to be implemented by 2018, including implementing best practices for budgeting, developing and implementing a method for weighing comparable public and private sector pay data when establishing salaries for all positions and developing a clear definition of systemwide initiatives.

According to the auditor’s evaluation, of the ten recommendations, the UC has only completed six.

The UC’s failure to complete all the recommendations on time may lead to the state government withholding millions of dollars from the UC system.

“It’s discouraging that this happened,” said fourth-year political science and history double major Chelsea Chavez. “It’s up to the UC system to figure out the flaws in their process and hold those involved accountable.”

Despite these findings, UC President Janet Napolitano’s office maintains it is on schedule and UC officials such as board chairman George Kieffer disputed that the unreported money was in “hidden funds” that had been allocated to various university programs.

However, they did acknowledge a need for more transparent reporting.

“We are confident that we have complied with all of the mandates by the California State Auditor and we are doing everything we can to ensure that the auditor is satisfied,” said Dianne Klein, Napolitano’s spokesperson, according to the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

This statement is supported by an independent consultant report from Sjoberg Evashenk Consulting, commissioned by UCOP, which showed that the UC has met all 10 recommendations.

According to the Santa Cruz Sentinel, “the firm argued Napolitano’s office is on track to meet its own budget deadline next month and that the office shouldn’t be expected to change its own budget schedule to meet the auditor’s April deadline.”

In response to last year’s audit report, the UC Regents scrutinized Napolitano’s proposed 2018-19 budget, which included a reduction on the amount of money requested for systemwide initiatives on issues such as carbon neutrality and food security.

The Regents recently approved what the LA Times says is a “leaner, more transparent budget.” The budget approved Napolitano’s shift of $30 million to campuses for housing and the redirecting of $8.5 million to enroll more than 1,500 additional California students this fall.

 

Written by: Clara Zhao — campus@theaggie.org

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article originally stated that UC Regents Board Chairman George Kieffer claimed UCOP’s unreported money was in “hidden funds.” He has disputed claims that the funds have been held in such funds, and the article has been updated to reflect this change.