Pogue says he’s ‘not surprised’, praises finance team’s work
GRAMBLING, LA – Coming a short time after Grambling State University received a clean audit by the state of Louisiana, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools has lifted a six-month warning placed on the institution in late June.
The university was officially notified on Monday night. A formal announcement is expected today. An official letter to the university will follow.
Grambling State University President Frank G. Pogue said he was not surprised that the warning was lifted because the university has done all it was supposed to do to restore financial integrity and it was only a matter of time for the state audit and the regional accrediting body to go through due diligence to find out what he already knew. Pogue predicted in June that the warning would be taken off the table, at the time calling the process a set of “administrative procedural issues.”
“As said in the summer when SACS placed our university on warning, I was perplexed because we had done and we were doing what needed to be done,” said Pogue, who received telephone notification while attending an annual SACS conference in Dallas. “Now I’m not surprised because I don’t think there were any other options since our own state authority found no findings, no cause, no reason for us to follow-up on anything. There’s nothing left to do but to keep up the good work.”
"Today’s decision by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges affirms the health of Grambling State University,” said Louisiana System Interim President Tom Layzell.
“President Frank Pogue and his staff are to be commended for producing clean audits and establishing stronger financial controls. The future is bright for the University of Louisiana System’s historically black university."
Earlier this year, the institution had its accreditation extended while asking the university to put in place stronger financial controls, especially movable property. Pogue noted that the university had put in place a number of financial safeguards, measures that have been in place for about 2.5 years.
The turnaround was lead by Leon Sanders, the university’s vice president for finance and administration, and a core team of his finance office. “We found weaknesses and we repaired those things immediately,” added Sanders. He said the $1.6 million that legislative auditors reported as lost or missing property was reduced to below $700,000 by mid-summer and the amount continues to be reduced.
"The findings identified in our prior management letter relating to unlocated movable property and tax penalties and interest have been substantially resolved by management,” reads the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office report, issued November 7 and released on November 12. “We did not identify any new findings of weaknesses in internal controls or noncompliance with laws in the current year."
Pogue and Sanders worked with the entire university finance team to earn the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office designation as having a clean, effective and efficient annual audit for the period ending June 30, 2012. It is the first time in recent memory that the 111-year-old university has not had any public findings with a state audit. Sanders and a core finance team lead the effort, including Moroline Washington, director of grants administration; Johnnie Faye Williams, director of property and receiving; Eric Turner, payroll manager and Raymond Abraham, a controller with more than 25 years of experience in the state auditor’s office in Baton Rouge. In addition, university staff was trained on new fiscal policies and procedures for expense reporting, payroll management and moveable property.
In June 2011, after a state legislative audit found financial control concerns, Pogue said “It took many years to get into some of the irregularities the university is experiencing and, as to be expected, it will take more than one or two years to turn things around. …This being said, while to some it may appear that auditors are adversaries, this administration embraces audits and views auditors as allies who identify potential risks to the university so that corrective action(s) can take place.” At that time, the president said he and his team would continue to “identify and eradicate risks to our financial security.”
Grambling State University is fully accredited by SACS, and 100 percent of the university’s degree programs that are required to be accredited by the University of Louisiana System are accredited by various degree-specific accrediting bodies.
Grambling State University President Frank G. Pogue may be available for a telephone interview at 12 noon today. Please make interview requests in advance with name, affiliation, email address, telephone number to call and any special questions or requests by emailing email@example.com AND firstname.lastname@example.org, and copy email@example.com. Pogue is attending the 2012 Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges annual meeting at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, which ends today. Some television stations may be interested in coordinating with partner or sister television stations in the Dallas-Fort Worth market to do a live or taped interview since the president will not return to campus until late Wednesday. Please coordinate interview requests with Sutton at the university communications office.
Pictured in the photo from left to right: Eric Turner, Johnnie Faye Williams, Moroline Washington, Raymond Abraham, and Leon Sanders.
Grambling State University Finance Division.
# # #