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PCC announces greater transparency measures

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PCC announces greater transparency measures

Move follows controversy over consultant who was paid for unbid work

The recent controversy over a consultant who sent Pima Community College employees lewd emails and was paid more than $300,000 for unbid work has spurred PCC's interim chancellor to adopt greater transparency measures, the college announced Tuesday.

“Maintaining the trust of the people of Pima County must be among the top priorities of this College,” said Interim Chancellor Suzanne Miles in a press release. “The community we serve must be completely confident in our processes and procedures.”

It is unclear when the new measures will take effect or if action if required by the college's District Governing Board, said PCC spokesman C.J. Karamargin.

In early February, the Arizona Daily Star reported that John Crnokrak, of Wisconsin, had received more than $300,000 in taxpayer money after bypassing the school's competitive bidding process. The college's policy requires competitive bidding for work worth more than $15,000.

Crnokrak, who was hired to provide leadership training to administrators, billed PCC for hotel and travel expenses that are normally not reimbursed for non-employees, the Star found.

The newspaper's investigation also uncovered that Crnokrak billed PCC for a personal massage and sent college employees lewd emails.

"Directly confronting those concerns is not an option. It is a requirement," Miles said in the release.

The new measures specifically address interactions with vendors.

Current employee policy covers financial conflicts among an employee and relatives or friends, Karamargin said.

"The Standard Practices Guide refers to financial interest. This is what Dr. Miles is attempting to address — that some things go beyond the financial (conflicts)," Karamargin said in an interview.

The email policy falls under viewing inappropriate content, and sending or receiving spam, pranks and chain letters, Karamargin said.

Miles announced the following measures:

  • College employees must report to supervisors any offensive communications from vendors or others with official business with the school.
  • Workers must receive prior approval before formally endorsing any product or commercial service.
  • The business office must carefully scrutinize costs that vendors seek from the school.
  • Employees who are directly or indirectly involved in vendor selection must disclose any potential conflict of interest with a person or company seeking to provide services for the school.
  • The college's purchasing manual must be updated to ensure efficient and effective use of public funds.

Miles was appointed interim chancellor on Feb. 29 after Roy Flores stepped down as the college's chancellor for health reasons.

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