Yeah, who knew? Haha. Too little, too late?
The Courier-Journal’s latest in the Robert Felner debacle tells us what we all know: the grant handling and overview process at the University of Louisville is laughable at best. While the majority of those responsible for grants do the right thing and are meticulous with their management, it’s an absolute embarrassment that Robert Felner was able to squander potentially millions of dollars while his superiors turned their heads.
And it’s even worse that they allowed this to go on for five years. Unchecked, crazy behavior. Just flushing our tax dollars down the toilet.
Take a look at a bit of the C-J story:
[U]niversity policy didn’t clearly spell out who was responsible for oversight of grant subcontracts; that researchers sometimes failed to monitor subcontractors; and the university controller’s office didn’t consistently keep up with required documentation.
University officials say they corrected those audit findings in 2006-07, adopting clearer policies, doing more to educate researchers about compliance rules and making sure proper audits were requested.
Even so, the audit illustrates how weaknesses can exist despite the complex and overlapping regulations.
For example, in Felner’s case, the university’s controller requested documentation about his subcontractors in late April 2008 — a full year after the first of three checks to one of the subcontractors was deposited in a Louisville bank.
Not sure about anyone else, but I’m pretty certain it’s becoming more and more clear that the entire University needs an overhaul. This is simply unacceptable on any level.
Even oversight that takes place early can fail to catch problems. For example, it’s not clear why the university didn’t notice that Felner had not reported financial disclosures required of researchers.
How about Shirley Willihnganz and Jim Ramsey literally ignored Felner’s faults and behavior? That may have something to do with it.
And while Bristow and others say they’re willing to make needed changes, no system is likely to catch everyone bent on wrongdoing.
“There’s no perfect system,” Wilhelm said. “There’s always someone who will find a way to circumvent it.”
Yes, there’s always a Robert Felner out there. But having some sort of system in place for oversight is better than the, you know, system of nothing that Jim and Shirley have going on these days.
Gosh. When will this investigation end? And when will UofL’s top dogs start taking responsibility?