USF Polytechnic Interim CEO David Touchton said last week that he wants to take a hard look at the school’s spending practices, and plans on reevaluating some of the key projects of former Chancellor Marshall Goodman.
Goodman’s actions as chancellor of USF Poly raised more than a few eyebrows, and caused state lawmakers to question the school’s management. State Sens. Mike Fasano and Paula Dockery called for an investigation into the spending practices under Goodman in October 2011, sending a letter to USF President Judy Genshaft requesting an audit of the school’s funds.
Genshaft responded that only the director of the campus (Goodman, at the time) had the legal standing to account for the school’s fiscal activity. Goodman reportedly spent $500,000 on a promotional video to market the school, $10,000 on life-size Star Wars action figures and $800,000 on travel. He was also accused of nepotism.
USF Polytech was, at the time, seeking separate accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, a move school officials said would enable them to offer more on-campus services for students, and develop its own degree programs.
The Florida State University System’s Board of Governors met in November to decide on the school’s attempt to split. Ultimately, the Board decided to wait for an indeterminate period of time before making a final decision, setting several benchmarks the school must meet before it can come back and ask for independence.
President Genshaft fired Goodman last month, replacing him with Interim CEO Touchton.
On a conference call with reporters last week, Touchton said he was scrutinizing the school’s lease agreements, as well as two business incubators that were signature projects of Goodman. Touchton also said he was hopeful that Dockery and Fasano would pull back on their investigation of Goodman’s finances.
Fasano Chief Legislative Aide Greg Giordano says the senator is “pleased with Chancellor Touchton’s efforts to investigate the transactions that his predecessor undertook” and has “great faith that an individual of Mr. Touchton’s expertise will be able to aggressively look into the previous and, in some cases, what may be inappropriate use of public dollars.”