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Charlie Sykes: Sykes Writes

Senator Alberta Darling: UW's Pattern Of Deception

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Add Senator Alberta Darling's name to the list of state lawmakers who are, to put it mildly, upset at the UW System administration.

Today, she writes:


Brief History Lesson Regarding UW System Kevin Reilly
In 2005, Kevin Reilly was quoted by the Badger Herald after he testified before the Joint Legislative Audit Committee who was investigating"back up jobs." At the time, the UW system had a practice of granting administrative back-up positions and at least two of its employees remained on the payroll after being convicted of felonies.
Reilly stated: "When I took office a year ago, I pledged that the University of Wisconsin System would be transparent in all that it does and be diligent and accountable to our stakeholders." Reilly further stated: "I believe we need to act more expeditiously than we sometimes have in these cases. I believe we need to take actions that will restore the public’s confidence that their university system is open, accountable, and a wise steward of public resources." - Badger Herald, Wednesday, September, 14,2005.
In September 2009, after it was revealed that the company UW System picked to handle their payroll was reeling from an accounting scandal that the Securities and Exchange Commission had to investigate. Kevin Reilly’s spokesman stated to the Associated Press: that his team knew about the problems in early August, but waited to inform lawmakers until a day after the Associated Press inquired about the story. His spokesman claimed Reilly was privately negotiating contract safeguards to protect the UW System from any damage to the company. – Associated Press, September 9, 2009
In 2010, it was revealed that Kevin Reilly gave former DOA Secretary Michael Morgan a high-paying job without a search and screen committee, without considering any other candidates for the job, and giving Morgan a 79% raise and the same pay as the man who left who had 30 years of experience in education. In July of 2010, the Attorney General said the hiring violated the Board of Regents hiring policy. Reilly put Morgan in charge of the new payroll system…a system that would lead to more than $33 million in over payments. – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, June 17, 2010
In 2012, after yet another audit was required of the UW System – this time over its relationship with WiscNetthe head of the Wisconsin State Telecommunications Association was appalled at the System’s shoddy record keeping, a disregard for state statutes, and irresponsible use of scarce taxpayer resources." Auditors had trouble getting to the root of the problem because "the lack of written agreements between the university and WiscNet." He called it institutional arrogance, "fast and loose" and wondered if it was on purpose that detailed records were not kept. – UW and WiscNet Audit Reveals Institutional Arrogance, Deceptive Accounting, Statutory Violations, Wisconsin State Telecommunications Association, December 18, 2012.

Sense the pattern?  The UW System has had a troubling propensity for deception. The discovery of the massive UW Slush Fund is just the latest episode.

Darling's column gets better (or worse, depending on whether or not you work in the UW System administration). See the whole thing, here.

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