BCCC expenditures questioned in audit

May 21, 2008|By Gadi Dechter | Gadi Dechter,Sun reporter

The director of student activities at Baltimore City Community College used a campus credit card to make $7,250 in "questionable purchases," including an $800 digital camera, electronic game consoles, video games and DVD players, according to a legislative audit report released yesterday.

College officials told auditors that the consumer items were given away to students at school-sponsored events, but they were "unable to document the specific students to whom prizes were given or the related events," the report said. In their written response to auditors, BCCC officials said they would investigate the purchases and might refer the unnamed employee to the attorney general's criminal division.

Vanessa Carroll, a college spokeswoman, said yesterday that the campus' internal auditors "didn't find there was criminal intent" and said BCCC would better document such purchases in the future.

The findings were part of a routine financial audit conducted by the Department of Legislative Services, which also uncovered more than $700,000 in contracts between the public Baltimore college and private companies that were made over a three-year period without competitive bids or written contracts, in violation of state procurement rules.

In an interview yesterday, Bruce Myers, head of the Office of Legislative Audits, stressed that his auditors had not uncovered any evidence of criminal activity at the community college. When asked whether auditors were investigating conflicts of interest related to the contracts, Myers said, "No comment."

Carroll said college President Carolane Williams "has taken very seriously the findings of the report" and has instructed her administration to competitively bid out the identified contract areas: advertising, temporary personnel services and cafeteria food services.

Myers said campus officials have generally been responsive to auditors' concerns.

gadi.dechter@baltsun.com

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