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DTC officials cited for misuse of state Purchasing Card Program Print E-mail

A probe into the financial problems at Denmark Technical College is “on-going” according to Area Commission Chairman Dr. James Hayes of Barnwell. After a more than two-hour closed meeting of DTC Area Commission members and officials of the S.C. State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education to discuss a “personnel matter” in the conference room at the college on Monday June 13, commission members reconvened to open session. Chairman Hayes stated the closed meeting involved a “totally personnel matter and no action and no vote were taken.” “There will be an on-going investigation,” Hayes said.

According to the findings of a March 28, 2011 Special Financial Review conducted for Denmark Technical College by the Management of the South Carolina Technical College System (System Office) covering expenditures reported from July 2010 through February 2011. The review found the following discrepancies in the misuse of the state’s purchasing card program by officials at the college:

Meals for staff, meals that appear to be for personal consumption, gasoline purchases, gift cards, hotel expenditures, transportation expenditures, and vehicle maintenance expenditures are some of the items totaling $14,437 in unauthorized purchases charged through the South Carolina Purchasing Card Program by officials at Denmark Technical College.

In all, the Special Financial Review resulted in 12 findings against the institution including; inaccurate postings, insufficient supporting documentation and inadequate internal controls. Under the heading Purchasing Card Program: Finding number six-Inadequate Supporting Documentation, the finding noted the total authorized purchases were $23,832. Of the total authorized purchases, $7,542.53 did not contain adequate supporting documentation.

Mandy Kibler, Vice President for Finance at the S.C. Technical College System and (who was also present at Monday’s meeting) said in a phone interview that while the expenditures ($14,437) may not be illegal purchases, they should not have been made using the state’s purchasing card program and are a cause for concern.

“Denmark Technical College has issued a letter of corrective action,” Kibler said, adding “we will be working with them the next several months, they’re working on it.” Kibler said a lack of training could’ve been a reason for the misuse of the state purchasing card program.

When asked about the findings of the state board, DTC President Dr. Michael M. Townsend stated he was told to refer all questions to Area Commission Chairman Dr. James Hayes of Barnwell.

In a phone interview Hayes said it would be inappropriate for him to discuss the results of the findings until he received more information.

“I don’t want to speculate on anything at this time,” Hayes said. “We’re getting clarifications on some items now, which are expected to be addressed in a report from the state auditors by the end of June.”

Also at Monday’s Area Commissioners Meeting:

• DTC Finance Director Andreas Corley reported after accounting for incumbencies and expenditures, the college is facing a projected budget deficit of $1.4 million. He reported that in keeping with the recommendation of the state board, the college is in the process of reducing the number of bank accounts from eight to three.

• In discussions related to a possible tuition increase, commissioner members set June 21 at 12 noon as a date to discuss the possible tuition hike. DTC Area Commission Finance Chair Calvin Wright noted how meeting are routinely changed without notice. “We’re in the eleventh hour now,” Wright said. “Meetings are put off and put off, poof, so we get what we have now.”

• In response to a question concerning the status of the college’s Southern Association of Colleges and School (SACS) Accreditation by DTC alumni Deloris Frazier, it was stated the college was in good standing with (SACS).

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