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Dockery and Fasano call again for USF Poly audit, this time from leader of the campus



The two state senators who a couple weeks ago called on the University of South Florida to audit its branch campus in Lakeland are now appealing to USF Polytechnic's leader to make it happen immediately.

Sens. Paula Dockery and Mike Fasano, both vocal critics of USF Poly's bid to become an independent university, said questionable expenditures under USF Poly chancellor Marshall Goodman's reign -- such as a half-million-dollar documentary about its new campus -- make an independent audit "imperative." They acknowledge that the state's Auditor General annually reviews the campus and has found no recent evidence of wrongdoing, but they say those simple audits do not address all expenditures.

"As the 2012 Legislative session approaches with a budget shortfall of nearly $2 billion, it is of the utmost importance that every dollar entrusted to state government and state institutions be spent prudently," the senators' letter states.

Dockery and Fasano sent their first USF Poly audit request to USF President Judy Genshaft, who responded that because the legislature made the branch campus fiscally autonomous, the main campus didn't have the authority to investigate USF Poly's finances. Dockery said she was "disappointed," but understood.

Now it's up to Goodman, who has been leading the charge to set USF Poly free. Next week he's expected to make his secession pitch, outlined in a 50-plus-page business plan released last week, to the Florida Board of Governors. It'll be up to that board, which oversees the state university system, to give the vision the yay or nay before the Florida Legislature weighs in.

That plan, by the way, prompted a list of two-dozen concerns from some members of USF's administration. Enrollment projections and cost estimates were essentially overly optimistic, the concerns said. USF Poly defended the plan on Monday.

[Last modified: Tuesday, November 1, 2011 5:08pm]


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