Inspector General Finds No Wrongdoing in Montgomery College President’s Travels

Dr. DeRionne Pollard

A review of travel expenses of the Montgomery College president found no wrongdoing, according to a report released Tuesday.

Edward L. Blansitt, Montgomery County’s inspector general, said he believed a provision added to President DeRionne Pollard’s employment agreement was not fully implemented. The provision would have improved oversight over travel and other business expenses. The provision, itself, he wrote, “could not have been effective.”

Pollard came under fire in November when NBC Washington uncovered trips to places like California, Florida, and Hawaii. The TV station found $160,000 in travel, meals and transportation expenses since 2013. In his report, Blansitt said he found $91,994 from July 2014 through December 2016 for travel, entertainment and other business expenses.

Blansitt suggested greater transparency in Pollard’s trips.

“Although business travel can be expensive to the organization and burdensome to the traveler, it is not necessarily unpleasant,” the report says. “Without context, some travel can easily appear to an outside observer to be wasteful, unnecessary, and extravagant, as some observers have expressed regarding the instant case.

“To avoid the appearance of and any potential future disputes over questionable expenses by the College President and the negative publicity that might accompany them, transparency must extend beyond the Board of Trustees and the faculty.”

Blansitt recommended the college’s board of trustees to make transparent all travel and other business expenses.

In a memo accompanying the report, board chair Marsha Suggs Smith said a board committee would develop methods to better communicate travel in support of the college’s mission.

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Douglas Tallman

About Douglas Tallman

Reporter with 35 years experience throughout Maryland. Reach me at dtallman@mymcmedia.org or via Twitter at @MCM-Doug

Comments

One Response to “Inspector General Finds No Wrongdoing in Montgomery College President’s Travels”

  1. On June 9, 2017 at 10:39 am responded with... #

    It sounds like internal controls are lacking severely, that the board overseeing this President’s spending is lacking the will to draft a coherent travel and expense policy, and that the public trust and public money is suffering because of it.

    How can the IG ensure there is “no wrongdoing” when Mr. Blansitt already admits that the expenses “lack transparency”? How can you audit or review something that has no description?

    Is the Montgomery College President adequately providing a full, complete statement of business purpose with each travel expense? Are there sourcing receipts for every purchase above $75? What about meals? What kind of alcoholic beverages were purchased while on business travel to Hawaii or Florida? Why does the T & E policy include the President’s spouse? Most T & E policies would not include money to be spent on an employee’s spouse. What kind of per-diem on meals exists? Is it being followed? How long in advance were these flights being purchased? Failing to plan for travel leads to inflated travel costs covered by the taxpayer.

    There are many unanswered questions here. The Montgomery County Young Republicans will do the media’s job for them and continue to inquire on them. More then “transparency” it sounds like a complete overhaul of the T & E policy for Montgomery College leadership is needed. A $100 per travel day per-diem on food would seem more then reasonable. Instead, the President spent $80 on breakfast alone! This is an abuse of the public trust.

    We call on Ms. Smith to produce a fully transparent T & E policy with specific repercussions (if not followed) outlined within.




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