PEMBROKE — An audit has found that the head of The University of North Carolina at Pembroke’s Facilities Management Department violated policy when he used a UNCP computer to work on projects for his architectural firm.
Michael Clark, the director of the department, had 382 documents on his computer related to the firm, of which he is president. Clark told auditors that the files were not related to his university duties, according to the audit filed on Thursday, but said he only worked on his private business before and after work hours. But the audit showed that 69 percent of the work done of the files was during his normal working hours.
“The director’s work on his private architectural projects may have negatively impacted his work on university projects for which he was compensated by state funds,” the audit said.
The audit found that Clark violated university policy by using the school’s computer to generate revenue for a personal business. The policy prohibits employees from using the university’s equipment for personal use, except in cases of “incidental use.” The audit stated that the volume of Clark’s activity “significantly exceeded incidental use.”
The audit recommended that the university discipline Clark and suggested periodic reviews of his computer usage.
In a response to the audit, UNCP Chancellor Kyle Carter said that the university notified the State Bureau of Instigation in February after it heard of Clark’s misuse. In September, the SBI told the university that no crime had been committed.
“Nevertheless, the university understands the importance of ensuring that state property be used for state purposes,” Carter said. “Accordingly, the university has taken appropriate and confidential personnel actions with regard to the director.”
He said the university will monitor Clark’s computer usage and will require all employees to sign a form re-emphasizing the school’s computer-use policy.
The audit also found that the school’s Facilities Operations employees didn’t follow a university purchasing procedure that requires at least three quotes for contracts between $2,500 and $25,000. The audit found the minimum number of bids was not received in 75 percent of the contracts awarded from February 2008 and May 2011. The contracts totaled $52,036.
The Facilities Operations superintendent, who was not identified in the audit, said that he using a $5,000 threshold.
The audit recommended that the school ensure that all employees involved in the university’s purchasing process are familiar with the policy.
State law requires three bids for construction projects of more than $300,000 and suggests three bids for projects between $30,000 and $300,000.
“Understanding fully the importance of competitive bidding, as well as adequately and appropriately documenting the process, the university is taking the opportunity to re-evaluate its purchasing procedures and possibly align them more closely with state guidelines,” Carter said.
Carter said that the university will also retrain employees who award contracts for construction projects.