The university should revise its travel policy to establish defined maximum limits for reimbursing the costs of lodging and to establish controls that allow for exceptions to such limits only under specific circumstances.
Effective April 1, 2013, the university revised its travel policy to establish a maximum limit for reimbursing the costs of lodging. The revised policy also established that exceptions to the lodging cost limit must be requested and approved in advance in accordance with the university's process for handling exceptions and individual campus approval processes.
The university drafted a policy establishing a maximum limit for reimbursing the cost of lodging. It will be included within the university's system-wide travel policy. The policy will be finalized in consultation with campus leadership and will be broadly communicated when finalized.
To recover improper payments and improve its review process over travel claims submitted to its accounting department, the university should reexamine its preapproval and reimbursement review process for all high-level university employees, and require staff at all organizational levels to submit correct and complete claims along with detailed documentation supporting those claims, subject to thorough and appropriate review by the university accounting staff.
The university reported that it will reimburse employees for "expenses that are ordinary, reasonable, not extravagent, and necessary to conduct official university business."
To recover improper payments and improve its review process over travel claims submitted to its accounting department, the university should specify upper monetary limits for its food and beverage policy and specify when this policy applies.
To strengthen its policies relating to food and beverage reimbursements, the university implemented a policy of only reimbursing employees based on the actual cost of meals and setting a maximum limit on meal reimbursements for any 24-hour period.
To recover improper payments and improve its review process over travel claims submitted to its accounting department, the university should terminate any agreements with university employees that allow them to work at a location other than their headquarters and expressly prohibit the making of such agreements.
The university stated that it has a critical need to maintain the ability to establish work arrangements, when necessary, to conduct business in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Aided by modern technologies, in select cases, it may permit employees to work in remote locations. Nevertheless, the university reviewed all of the existing alternate work location agreements with current employees of the Chancellor's Office. When it found no compelling reason for the agreements, the university gave the employee the option of either relocating his or her headquarters or terminating his or her employment. The university noted that few of its employees chose to work at remote locations.
To recover improper payments and improve its review process over travel claims submitted to its accounting department, the university should recover from the official the $1,834 in duplicate payments and overpayments.
The university collected from the former official $1,903—consisting of the $1,834 we identified and $69 it identified later—in duplicate payments or overpayments.