D.C. City Council member Betty Ann Kane (D-At Large) yesterday called for the resignations of all 15 members of the University of the District of Columbia board of trustees, saying they have continued "business as usual" despite council members' criticism of the board's performance.
Kane, in an interview, criticized the trustees for conducting a closed-door work session yesterday evening in which the accounting firm of Coopers & Lybrand briefed the board on its audit of the university's 1984 and 1985 postsecondary education fund and the 1985 president's representation fund.
In its findings, Coopers & Lybrand reported a number of improper expenditures and a widespread lack of documentation in the accounts. The firm also concluded that UDC administrators had spent university money and moved funds without proper consultation with the trustees.
City Council member Carol Schwartz (R-At Large) joined Kane in calling for the UDC board members to be replaced. Schwartz said she is considering recommending that the appointment process for trustees be changed to give the council and UDC faculty members and students a greater voice in selecting trustees.
Council members expressed concern about the trustees' closed meetings during three recent public hearings on UDC conducted by the council's Education Committee. Council members also charged that the trustees were ineffectual in overseeing administrative spending.
University president Robert L. Green resigned under pressure a month ago after revelations about his expenditures for travel, consultants and personal items.
"They are ignoring the law," Kane said of the trustees. "They haven't learned anything in terms of public perception and their responsibility as trustees to have some consciousness that they are dealing with public matters. I think they ought to step aside. All of them."
Board Chairman N. Joyce Payne said she would not comment directly on Kane's statement, but said the decision to close the work session was based on legal opinions obtained by the board.
"Our general counsel is of the opinion that the board is in compliance in holding closed meetings," she said. "Briefings for sensitive matters . . . can be closed."
Payne, who recently was elected chairman of the board of trustees, said that despite the closed meeting the board does not plan to withhold any information relating to the controversy. "We are in a full disclosure posture," she said.
The Coopers & Lybrand audit focuses on a wide range of spending at the university. The firm, which the board hired after D.C Auditor Otis H. Troupe began an inquiry into irregularities at UDC, noted that Green had overspent his $15,000 1985 representation fund budget by more than $8,000 and failed to provide adequate documentation for $8,460 in hotel and travel expenditures and $4,750 in payments for meals.
Contributions to political and civic organizations were singled out as ineligible, including $400 that went for tickets to an event sponsored by Young Ideas, a group headed by Andrew Young, mayor of Atlanta and a longtime civil rights associate of Green, according to the audit.
In its examination of the $1 million postsecondary education fund, the auditors criticized some of the $72,578 that was spent on consulting contracts. Coopers & Lybrand questioned the practice of issuing multiple consulting contracts for $2,500, the maximum that can be given without putting a contract out for bids.
The firm reported that expenditures of $14,967, of the $625,000 spent from the postsecondary account, were missing payment vouchers and other supporting documentation. In addition, the auditors concluded Green had improperly transferred $22,000 from the postsecondary account to a revolving household account without obtaining board permission. After the briefing, Payne issued a statement that said, in part, "Our financial system in fundamentally sound, but we are convinced that there is a need for strict controls and that mechanism should be developed that will prevent any circumvention of board authority. We must be more vigilant in our oversight responsibilities . . . "