Nearly four years ago, I came to Roxbury Community College with no other purpose than to ensure that the College excelled to benefit its students and its community. From the first day, I was confronted with a long list of issues that had plagued the institution for years. Some stemmed from complaints made to the Board of Trustees in 2012 regarding mismanagement of the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center (the Reggie). In response, Wayne Budd, former United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, was retained and conducted a thorough investigation of the College's practices. Among other findings reached in his report issued in 2013 were serious concerns over the fiscal management of the Reggie Lewis Center. Subsequently, in 2013 the State Auditor conducted an audit of the Reggie Lewis Center for the period July 1, 2010, through March 31, 2012. On April 9, 2014, the Auditor issued her audit findings (Report 2012-0204-3S), which included, but were not limited to:
- Inadequate management and oversight controls result in the Reggie not collecting all necessary revenue for the operation and capital needs of the facility;
- Lack of policies and procedures for the collection of admission fees at public events resulted in thousands of dollars in unaccounted-for fees;
- The Reggie inappropriately charged and collected in excess of $20,000 in fees from public high-school track leagues;
- The Reggie did not adhere to the College's established policies and procedures for the purchase of, receipt of, and payment for goods and services; and
- The Reggie did not follow applicable policies and procedures for personnel and payroll activities, and the College failed to provide adequate guidance on these matters.
For many years, past administrations allowed the Reggie to operate with little oversight or accountability. The audit revealed that this approach was unsustainable based on the Reggie's poor practices, which the Auditor found resulted in "thousands of dollars of lost revenues" and "thousands of dollars in unaccounted-for fees."
Based on these findings, we initiated a number of measures to address the deficiencies cited in an effort to improve the Reggie's operations and ensure compliance in all areas. We worked directly with RLTAC staff to ensure the findings of the audit were addressed. Many improvements were made including: expanding the Scheduling Committee to ensure that Reggie events were properly screened, scheduled and supported by the entire College community; a fee structure was approved by the Board of Trustees; the Business Office established procedures to ensure that funds from fees and rentals were received and recorded in accordance with College policy; procedures for purchasing and receipt of goods were established; and changes were made to ensure that all hires went through the required Commonwealth processes.
Over time, in spite of these efforts, it became apparent that further changes were necessary to address the Reggie's ongoing operational challenges, including providing new management for the facility. Subsequently, in September, 2016 I requested the State Auditor to review some of the Reggie's records, which raised concerns similar to those cited by the Auditor in 2014. Based on her review, Auditor Bump recommended that the matter be referred to law enforcement officials for further investigation. Consequently, the matter was referred to Attorney General Maura Healy's office in October, 2016 for investigation.
Despite Adrian Walker's comments in the February 20, 2017 issue of the Boston Globe, the issues concerning the Reggie Lewis Center were never about "a clash of personalities." As President of Roxbury Community College I am charged with a fiduciary obligation to ensure that all aspects of the College are operated in a manner compliant with College policies and state law. My actions concerning the Reggie have always been motivated solely by that responsibility.