CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Marshall University plans to make changes to inventory policies and procedures following a legislative audit.
Perry Chaffin, the Director of Internal Audit at Marshall agreed that changes need to be made after the audit came to a conclusion that the institution’s inventory management system is not adequate to ensure the proper safeguarding of state assets from fraud, misuse or abuse.
Chaffin spoke last week in front of the Joint Committee on Government and Finance following three recommendations made from the audit read by Randy Mays, a Senior Auditor with the Post Audit Division.
Beginning on July 1, 2006, Marshall established its own internal policies for maintaining an assets inventory following legislation in 2005 that excluded the institution from the WV Purchasing Division requirements.
According to the executive summary of the audit, the Legislative Auditor recommends that Marshall improve its inventory requirements for assets below the $5,000 threshold and that those requirements should also provide a mechanism that would require the inclusion of non-capital and high-risk assets, such as computers, laptops and iPads, in the University’s inventory listing.
The audit compared Marshall’s guidelines for protecting the high-risk asset to five large universities in the region including Ohio State, Penn State, University of Maryland, University of Virginia, and the University of Kentucky.
Marshall was the only one of those schools that does not have policies requiring inventory of items under $5,000.
“We do track some of these assets, although it is outside of our current policies and procedures,” Chaffin said while addressing the recommendations. “We have a system that tracks all laptops, desktop computers and tablet computers that are connected to the Marshall network.”
Another recommendation from the audit said that Marshall is in need to change its Banner Fixed Asset Module, which lists all equipment currently assigned to various university departments and physical locations.
The audit sampled 107 items from the current school’s inventory of nearly 4,500 items and found that 85 of the 107 items, 79 percent with an approximate value of over $500,000, could not be traced to the location indicated for the asset.
Chaffin also agreed with that notion but explains why he thinks Marshall has had issues.
“I’ll just tell you that we’ve had misunderstandings,” he said.
“We have had our share of turnover. Some of it was our employees not understanding what they were supposed to do. Doing certain procedures but not updating certain records in the system.”
The third recommendation from the audit was for the institution to modify its policies and procedures to ensure accurate recording and tracking of all assets deemed surplus that are transferred to the warehouse.
While answering questions from committee member, state Senator Greg Boso (R-Nicholas), Chaffin gave a timeline to when Marshall could make the proper changes to its system in accordance with the recommendations.
“On idea three on the surplus property we also totally agree with this one,” Chaffin said. “We think that needs to be done and we hope to have that one done within six months.
“Say we take a couple of months of that first recommendation, then over the next four months we would have that second one.”
Boso asked when the entire process could be completed to make the proper changes in Marshall’s system.
“At approximately a year we are looking at to totally finish this,” Chaffin said.
According to the audit, Marshall maintains adequate control over firearms.