Good Money After Bad

I get criticized for calling for better controls on spending at public schools and universities before we throw more money at existing problems. But here is one good reason why we must do this:

The director of design and construction management at Morgan State University has resigned amid findings by a legislative auditor that the college violated state regulations in multimillion-dollar deals with a private contractor, officials said yesterday.

In a statement, campus officials acknowledged that university staff had failed to follow Maryland procurement rules. The university has acknowledged adding a $3.1 million allowance into its bid for a 2005 contract and then using $2.6 million of the surplus funds to pay Whiting Turner Contracting for cost overruns on four other campus projects without getting state approval.

The fact of the matter is that such rules violations are probably extremely common throughout state government. The question leads us to this: how much money has the state wasted through paying of higher than necessary fees for services because some employees could not be bothered to follow the rules?

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This story further proves the problem with throwing good money after bad when it comes to education. We have seen, both in secondary and higher public education, no desire to account for the money that is being spent in these schools. Union officials and administrators would prefer to kvetch about the need for more money before, not after, proving that the money they currently have is being efficiently and effectively spent. I bet that if it were not for this legislative audit, the inappropriate use of of funds here at Morgan State would have gone unnoticed due to the lack of proper accounting procedures in place in the University hierarchy.


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