University of Arkansas Chancellor G. David Gearhart has formally asked auditors for the Arkansas General Assembly and the University of Arkansas System to perform independent audits of spending within the university’s advancement division.
Gearhart sent his requests Tuesday morning to University of Arkansas System President Donald Bobbitt and to Arkansas legislative auditor Roger Norman. Both individuals confirmed receipt of Gearhart’s request shortly thereafter.
“In early July I learned that the university’s advancement division had finished the 2012 fiscal year with a deficit,” Gearhart explained. “A thorough review conducted over the next few months concluded that the size of the deficit was nearly $3.3 million. As a consequence, I took certain personnel actions and shared these findings with key stakeholders and with the general public.
“As I explained previously, the university’s treasurer — a former state auditor — reviewed the advancement division’s expenditures and found no misuse or misappropriation of university funds,” he continued. “However, she raised concerns regarding the job performance or lack of performance by individuals who had primary responsibility for the division’s finances. The treasurer documented those issues and job performance concerns last fall. In making personnel decisions relating to this matter, I relied on the treasurer’s assessment of their performance.
“Since that document is a formal assessment of specific individuals’ job performance, Arkansas state law prohibits the university from releasing it. Arkansas law does provide for the document to be shared with officials conducting audits, and we will make the document available to both the legislative and university system auditors along with all other data and documentation they request.
“The university has been transparent and accountable about this situation,” Gearhart said. “I believe these audits will demonstrate that performance while still respecting the legal protections afforded public employees under Arkansas law.”