Search Results for: label/Senate

Tublitz’s Transparency Resolution

11/9/2009: In May Nathan Tublitz’s motion to increase financial transparency by providing access to UO accounting records passed the UO Senate. The new administration seems to be taking this seriously, and the Senate website now includes this memo: (Note that due to a new state law, in January UO will start posting all employee salary numbers online.)

Transparency of University Financial Transactions (this report is made jointly by Don Harris and Frances Dyke)

The UO Senate passed the following motion:

The University Senate respectfully requests the University of Oregon Administration to establish a publicly accessible, on-line budget reporting system at the University of Oregon by 15 November 2009 that will allow users to track current and retroactive individual university expenditures as is currently done at our sister institution Oregon State University on their budget reporting website ( https://bfpsystems.oregonstate.edu/webreporting/).

Frances Dyke comments:

The CIO, Don Harris is here to answer any of the more technical questions you may with regard to the financial reporting tool that will be available on November 16 (the first workday after November 15). As discussed at the May University Senate meeting work began on developing this tool after a major enterprise software upgrade project was completed in September.

The tool you will be able to access starting next Monday is the initial roll out of a financial reporting tool for compliance with the university Senate motion on financial transparency. In the course of discussions related to development the work group has identified impediments to our ability to provide transactional level detail in a publicly available financial reporting tool. There are issues of both security and legally binding confidentiality that must be balanced against the desire for full transparency. As mentioned at the October Senate meeting I am now asking the Senate President to appoint an advisory group to help analyze these problems and find solutions that can be legally and operationally implemented. In making this request I also recommend that the Senate President consider creating this advisory group by drawing on membership of the Senate Budget Committee and other members of the Senate or university community who have a particular interest or expertise in financial management reporting.

As a side note the state will be implementing a web site to comply with HB 2500 on financial transparency at the state level. This website will be active in January 2010 and will contain salary information on all state employees including all employees in the Oregon University System. It will also include information summarizing payments from agencies to vendors. A copy of the House bill is attached.

Don Harris comments:

The application developed uses the WEB development portal tool kit and will be accessible via DuckWeb. This was done so that we could deploy a resource that could be supported by IS Enterprise Administrative Applications and several programmer/analysts who are trained in the use of this toolset. The application will be easy to use and incorporate pull down menus, drilldown capability within specified limits, the ability to compare several years of data, and the ability to download data into an Excel spreadsheet. We have developed this application to be responsive to the senate motion while seeking to balance the needs for transparency and the security and confidentiality issues that have become apparent. As the VPFA and I work with the advisory group appointed by the Senate president appropriate modifications will be made.

This is a big step forward. Just 6 months ago we were getting emails like this:

Professor X:

Thank you for your inquiry.

The Business Affairs Office is working on a complete redesign of our web presence. Part of that project is to review information currently accessible on our website to decide what to transition to the new portals. During this review period, we looked at the Chart of Accounts page you referenced below.

We discovered that certain information available through the Chart of Accounts is considered confidential pursuant to OAR 571-030-0025(1). As such, we removed the information from our publicly-accessible website and restricted access to personnel with a “demonstrably legitimate need for particular information in order to fulfill their official, professional responsibilities.” Those personnel include those who perform business and budget transactions within the BANNER enterprise accounting system (i.e. campus budget and business officers and core-office personnel.)

If you have any other questions related to Chart of Accounts data, please let me know.

Sincerely,

Kelly B. Wolf

Kelly B. Wolf
Director of Business Affairs and Controller
University of Oregon
Phone: (541) 346-3165
Fax: (541) 346-5820
kbwolf@uoregon.edu

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Pay us $111.46 to find out how we spend your money

6/20/2009: Last week we asked UO Counsel Doug Park for documentation on how many millions UO administrators had spend remodeling their offices in Johnson Hall, and if it was true that Frances Dyke had diverted some of the money from a fund Linda Brady had set up for faculty offices.

A week later (and before the AG cracked down Melinda Grier would draw this step out for 3 months, minimum) we got the reply below. Information on this sort of thing is a matter of public interest and we shouldn’t have to pay $111.46 (strange – Doug usually picks a prime number) to see it – and when Tublitz’s transparency website is active, we won’t have to. Meanwhile, maybe we’ll petition this to the AG’s office.

Dear Professor X:

The University of Oregon has received your public records request for a copy of documents or accounting reports related to remodeling and renovating Johnson Hall for the last two years or what is budgeted through June 2010. You also request documents providing information about funds budgeted for faculty office remodeling – we assume for the same time period (the last two years). The University is now providing an estimate.

The University estimates the actual cost of providing the documents responsive to your request to be $111.46. Upon receipt of a check made payable to the University of Oregon in the amount of $111.46, the University will proceed to locate, copy, and provide the records you have requested that are not exempt from disclosure. Your check may be sent to the attention of the General Counsel’s office at 1226 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-1226. Your request for a fee waiver is respectfully denied.

Please note that if the cost of preparing the documents for you is less than the estimate, we will refund the difference. If the cost of preparing the report for you exceeds the estimate, however, you may be charged for the difference. Following is an outline of how costs are determined.

…boilerplate …

Thank you for contacting the University with your request.

Sincerely,

The University of Oregon
Office of the General Counsel

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Accounting secrets at OSU and UO

At Oregon State there are none.

OSU’s VP for Finance Mark McCambridge has posted all financial information to the web – every single transaction. See https://bfpsystems.oregonstate.edu/webreporting/ (10/7/2009: now apparently restricted to OSU IP addresses.)

Quoting from the Inside Higher Ed news story:

Since the university already maintained a central database storing transaction information, the process of bringing it into public view took just a few months, with a price tag below $10,000.

“It’s pretty basic, but it is very transparent. Everybody in the institution can see everything that goes on everywhere,” says Mark McCambridge, vice president for finance and administration at Oregon State.

At UO, VP for finance Frances Dyke has been busily instructing her employees to remove what little accounting info is available from her website. (See update here.)

Quoting from the email we were sent by an employee of Ms Dyke’s and written at her instruction:

… we removed the information from our publicly-accessible website and restricted access to personnel with a “demonstrably legitimate need for particular information in order to fulfill their official, professional responsibilities.” Those personnel include those who perform business and budget transactions within the BANNER enterprise accounting system (i.e. campus budget and business officers and core-office personnel.)

You can be sure uomatters.com is making every effort to find out exactly what Ms Dyke is trying to hide (legal disclaimer: if anything) and that we will post it publicly as soon as we do.

UPDATE: Soon after we sent her the URL for this post, Ms Dyke sent the email below to all UO faculty and Staff. She sends this out 6 months after the policy is adopted? How does she expect people to report “financial irregularities” when they can’t get any of the accounting information? Oh, wait, I get it – she’s afraid that…

To: University of Oregon Community

From: Frances L. Dyke, Vice President for Finance and Administration

Date: May 4, 2009

Subject: Financial Irregularity Reporting Hotline

All of us share responsibility for ensuring that the university conducts its financial transactions in ways that are ethical, honest, and reflect sound fiduciary practices. Because the University of Oregon and the Oregon University System (OUS) take this obligation seriously, a revised Financial Irregularities Policy was adopted in November 2008 by the Oregon State Board of Higher Education. This revised policy encourages employees to report any suspected financial misconduct to the appropriate university office, the OUS Internal Audit Division, or through the Financial Concerns hotline.

The OUS has contracted with EthicsPoint, an independent, third-party vendor, to provide a confidential and anonymous telephone and Internet system for reporting your financial concerns. The OUS Internal Audit Division administers the hotline system and will follow up on reports.

Additional information concerning the hotline and related policies and procedures can be found on the OUS Reporting Financial Concerns webpage (www.ous.edu/financialconcerns). A link to the OUS Financial Irregularity Reporting Hotline has been provided on the UO Business Affairs (http://baowww.uoregon.edu/) and VPFA (http://vpfa.uoregon.edu/) web pages.

Your commitment to integrity and honesty is an important element in maintaining an ethical and secure workplace environment for everyone. Your help in calling attention to unethical or irregular financial practices is greatly appreciated.

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