PCC to review all contracts with vendors | Business
The following is a news release from Pima Community College:
Interim Chancellor Dr. Suzanne Miles announced that Pima Community College has launched a comprehensive examination of all contracts maintained with its vendors.
“At my direction, the College auditor is reviewing all business relationships we have with any firm, organization or individual,” Dr. Miles said. “This top-to-bottom review includes contracts with vendors who do business with the District Office and each of our six campuses. It is being undertaken with one overarching goal in mind: to assure the public that we maintain the most prudent stewardship of their tax dollars.”
The examination, mandated by Dr. Miles, began two months following numerous media and citizen requests for information about PCC contracts. The review could take months to complete and could be supplemented by an independent external audit of College contracts.
“Typically, the College does not announce audits but I feel the public deserves to know the specific steps we are taking to address their concerns,” Dr. Miles said.
PCC, which is required to maintain a balanced budget, regularly conducts audits of its operations through its Office of Internal Auditor. In addition, the College is subject to annual external audits by the Auditor General of Arizona, and by other entities in order to fulfill contractual obligations or to ensure compliance with federal, state or College procedures.
“The overall fiscal integrity of PCC is not in question,” Dr. Miles said. “In fact, PCC has won national awards for the quality of our fiscal reporting and we made it through the worst economy since the Great Depression with only a negligible impact on our students, staff and academic programs. But while we are extremely efficient and effective in our use of public funds, I believe a comprehensive audit represents the best way to address concerns about the business relationships we maintain.”
Dr. Miles is serving as Interim Chancellor while the PCC Governing Board conducts a nationwide search for a new chancellor. Last month, a 31-member Search Advisory Committee was named to assist in that effort.
“It’s my goal to hand over to the new Chancellor an organization whose finances are in the best-possible order,” she said. “The financial foundation of Pima Community College is strong. If there are any cracks in that foundation, I want them identified and fixed.”
The comprehensive review of contracts is the latest in a series of measures to improve fiscal accountability, transparency and oversight since Dr. Miles became Interim Chancellor on Feb. 29. Other measures include:
- Moving forward with plans to hire an in-house College attorney;
- Establishing a new external compliance and ethics hotline for PCC employees;
- Requiring PCC employees who receive offensive communications from vendors or others doing official business with the College to contact their supervisor immediately;
- Requiring PCC employees who intend to formally endorse any product or service of a commercial nature to obtain prior approval from their supervisor;
- Requiring the PCC business office to provide additional scrutiny on costs that non-local and non-Arizona-based vendors may seek to impose on the College;
- Requiring PCC employees who are directly or indirectly involved in the selection of vendors to disclose any financial or personal relationships they have with a person or firm seeking to provide goods or services for the College; and
- Updating and reviewing the College’s purchasing manual to ensure the most efficient and effective use of public funds.