College acts to remedy financial woes

February 11, 1994|By Thomas W. Waldron | Thomas W. Waldron,Sun Staff Writer

Baltimore City Community College is bringing in a new administrative vice president and two new fiscal managers in the wake of a scathing state audit of the school's finances.

The college has hired its first internal auditor and a new comptroller and is looking for a new administrative vice president.

The audit, which was completed in October, identified lax cash controls and sloppy oversight of employee time sheets, along with unresolved financial issues left over from the 1990 transfer of the college from Baltimore to the state.

BCCC, which has a budget of roughly $25 million, enrolls about 6,300 students at its campuses downtown and on Liberty Heights Avenue in Northwest Baltimore.

Overall, auditors labeled the college's finances "unsatisfactory," the lowest rating assigned to state agencies.

"This is difficult for me, because I take a lot of pride in good management," said BCCC President James D. Tschechtelin, who has been in charge since July 1990.

Dr. Tschechtelin said that he convened a committee of ranking managers last week to make sure the college complies with the audit's recommendations before state auditors return to the campus in April.

"The auditors said these things are not rocket science; they just need to get done," Dr. Tschechtelin said.

The audit, which covered July 1, 1990, to Nov. 4, 1992, found:

* "Inadequate" control of about $6 million handled by the central cashier's office in fiscal year 1992. The college has changed its procedures to provide more oversight, officials said.

* A lack of independent verification that about $1.9 million in cash collected at BCCC's Liberty campus had actually been sent to the central cashier's office for deposit. BCCC officials said they have changed procedures to better track the sums sent to the central office.

* Sloppy recordkeeping in the federally funded work-study program, which pays students $6 to $7 an hour. In one case, a student submitted two separate time slips and was paid twice for the same 26 hours of work. In another case, a supervisor said that someone else signed her name on a time slip covering 180 hours of work during a 12-week period.

The college is investigating the records of about 45 students, which were examined by auditors, to determine the scope of the problem. After that, officials will decide whether to examine other students' pay records, Dr. Tschechtelin said.

Sheryl Fleming resigned as administrative vice president in September, as the auditors were wrapping up their work.

Dr. Tschechtelin said that her resignation was not prompted by the negative audit, but this week two knowledgeable state government officials linked her departure to the audit.

Ms. Fleming, whose resignation takes effect March 31, was unavailable for comment.

She stopped performing the duties of vice president as of Feb. 1 and is working on a special assignment, Dr. Tschechtelin said.

A new comptroller was to begin work this week, replacing an employee who left on maternity leave and is not returning, Dr. Tschechtelin said.

The review was the first comprehensive audit by state auditors since the college came under state control.

About 10 to 15 agencies receive an "unsatisfactory" during the two-year cycle in which all of the state's 250 agencies are scrutinized, said Anthony J. Verdecchia, the chief auditor.

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