By David Schick
State Rep. Karla Drenner thinks that more blame for GPC’s budget deficit should be placed with the University System of Georgia than with former President Anthony Tricoli.
Drenner recently stated in a CrossRoadsNews article that she believed Tricoli wasn’t at fault and that he was just a scapegoat for the USG.
“How can a president with a long series of successes be abruptly dismissed before any investigation?” wrote Drenner in response to follow up questions the Collegian submitted via email.
In the response, Drenner analyzes and questions the USG’s Special Audit of GPC’s budget deficit.
“I also started to wonder about the USG involvement and learned that they meet annually with the college’s leadership teams to review the college’s budget actions of the precious year and discuss their future budget proposal,” wrote Drenner. “If they were meeting annually, how could the Chancellors office not know?”
Drenner stated that if they didn’t know, they should have known. Drenner stated that the changes to USG budget oversight procedures, which were adopted on June 5 according to an email by Chancellor Hank Huckaby, are an indication of the USG’s culpability.
“Clearly, the financial oversight processes and procedures which were in place at the System Office were inadequate,” wrote Drenner.
“While ultimately it is the college president’s responsibility to manage the organization, again I would offer with the adoption of these changes does it not communicate the recognition of the lack of appropriate processes and procedures by the University System that added to this problem?”
According to USG’s Special Audit, “email discussions among GPC’s financial staff starting in Jan 2012 that reference the declines in the auxiliary fund balances”were not shared outside GPC’s Office of Financial and Administrative Affairs until “several months afterwards.”
Drenner noted that the Tricoli was specifically excluded from these communications.
“I am particularly concerned that the USG’s special audit report failed to communicate that ‘system level’ leaders had been involved in these e-mail discussions which excluded the president,” wrote Drenner.
In her last point, Drenner makes reference to the special audit’s claim that all of GPC’s budget presentations were “incomplete and inaccurate.”
Again, I ask myself, if the president was receiving ‘incomplete’ and ‘inaccurate’ budget presentations from the second person in authority at the college and the top financial administrator with 40 years of experience, the CBO, why was the president removed? Only too recently the Board at the University of Virginia removed the President of the UVA. The president after the investigation was restored to her leadership position. Consider the recent events at Emory when upper level administrators purposefully misled the public for years regarding its successes. An investigation was done, and when it concluded that the Emory’s president did not know, the president was retained, and the individuals responsible not.
Drenner concluded that she understood how difficult it could be to reverse the decision of removing Tricoli, but the evidence from the special audit “suggests thoughtful reconsideration.”
The Collegian emailed Chancellor Huckaby requesting a response to Drenner’s statements.
As of press time, there has been no response.
UPDATE (12/13/12): Representative Drenner’s full comments were made available at the time this story was posted in the link entitled “Drenner in response.” However, you can read them by clicking the previous link or by clicking here.