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Norfolk State’s Financial Audit Status Concerns Lawmakers

RICHMOND, Va. — State lawmakers are calling for more financial accountability at Norfolk State University, which has not been able to complete a financial audit for two years.

Norfolk State does not have adequate administrative staff or documentation to complete the audits for fiscal years 2011 and 2012, state Auditor of Public Accounts Martha S. Mavredes told the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission on Monday, The Virginian-Pilot reported Tuesday.

Commission members said they plan to increase scrutiny of the university.

“Where is the accountability?” asked Del. S. Chris Jones, R-Suffolk, who also is a member of the House Appropriations Committee that helps establish the state budget for colleges and university.

“This is extremely troubling to me,” Jones said.

Norfolk State said that its administration and finance officers are working to complete the audits in consultation with the Office of the Auditor of Public Accounts.

“The expectation is that the audits will be completed by the end of June or early July,” Cheryl Bates-Lee, assistant vice president of university relations, told the newspaper in an email.

The end of June could be the state’s deadline for helping the university with the audits, Mavredes said.

“If I don’t get it done soon, I am going to run the risk of slowing down something else, which could have an adverse effect,” she told the newspaper.

Mavredes had told leaders of the legislative commission in April that Norfolk State’s finance and administration department “lacks adequate staffing levels to complete daily operations.”

“Current staffing levels also compromise the ability to produce financial statements, perform important updates to policies and procedures, and gain an appropriate understanding of the new financial accounting system,” she wrote in an April 22 letter to commission Chairman John M. O’Bannon III, R-Henrico, and Vice Chairman John Watkins, R-Powhatan.

Mavredes said Norfolk State has been able to satisfy federal concerns about accounting for financial aid the university receives.

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