Universities Face Audit of Practices Barnes Wants Review of All State Agencies

Article excerpt

ATLANTA -- Georgia's public university system will be the first unit of state government to undergo what Gov. Roy Barnes is describing as an intensive management audit designed to make agencies more efficient and find ways to do a better job.

The audit, which Barnes announced to the Board of Regents yesterday, will be part of the panel's "benchmarking" program to compare the system with counterparts across the country.

"We have to have that evaluation, raising of standards and accountability so that we can give confidence to people that we are accomplishing what we have the responsibility of doing," Barnes said, "but in addition, to raise the level of educational achievement so we can compete in the new economy that is emerging."

Barnes said the audit was not brought on by any specific problems, such as the $22 million shortfall projected this year for the Medical College of Georgia's hospital and clinics.

The Board of Regents had already agreed to begin a thorough evaluation of the system, so Chancellor Stephen Portch volunteered to take part in Barnes' government audit program as well.

"Our fundamental interest is to maximize the dollars we have going to our core functions . . . to direct the maximum dollars to the teaching and research efforts," Portch said.

Barnes said the review will include an audit of business practices -- such as human resources, payroll, purchasing -- as well as how education is delivered to students.

"I am especially pleased you are willing to judge yourselves against the best in the nation because that's what I want for all of Georgia's educational institutions," he told the regents.

The General Assembly budgeted $4 million this year to perform management audits of agencies.

Some of the things being looked at involve practices common in business. …


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