Roxbury Community College failed to perform sex offender checks on some athletic center workers, made employee overpayments of nearly $29,000 over a two-year period, and improperly charged public high school track leagues $96,450 for the use of its track, according to audit results released Thursday.
Auditor Suzanne Bump said the sex offender checks are required under the community college’s policies, but were not performed for 13 of the 19 Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center, or RLTAC, employees reviewed during the audit period, which ended June 30, 2019. RCC officials told auditors that the former HR staff member who was in charge of the checks “could not explain why these 13 SORI checks had not been conducted.”
Charging public high school track leagues for the use of the track “is not compliant” with the track center’s enabling law, which states in part that the center “shall be made available without charge for use by public high school track programs and Roxbury Community College,” according to the audit.
However, Roxbury Community College countered in its response that the track center’s state appropriation in fiscal years 2018 and 2019 “allows it to collect money for facility expenses associated with meets” and said the charges related to the costs of trainers, security, and extra event staff.
RCC also shed light on internal politics that the college said complicated its ability to address a “conflict” in state law. The college tried several times since fiscal 2012 “to resolve this conflict in the legislation,” RCC said, discussing it with several lawmakers.
“No legislator was willing to sponsor a bill to clarify the conflict. Even if the College had been able to secure a bill sponsor, we would have needed a majority of legislators from all over the State to vote for this change,” RCC said. “Consider that the RLTAC falls within the legislative districts of one State representative and one senator. Yet, the high schools all have legislators across the Commonwealth who will listen to their constituents. With this imbalance of legislative power, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to gain statewide support for a change that would shift costs to the high schools.”
“This audit shows that internal controls still need strengthening and that certain revenue constraints should be reconsidered,” Bump said of the audit. “The rental fee question is a particularly difficult one, since any shortfalls in covering the costs of the RLTAC mean that RCC students have to subsidize its operation. I hope that RCC and the Legislature can effectively address this situation.”
Part of the state’s public higher education network Roxbury Community College served just under 3,000 students in fiscal 2019, when it received nearly $11 million in funding from the state