Last year University of the District of Columbia President Robert L. Green arranged a $20,000 consulting contract for his longtime associate and friend Cassandra A. Simmons to study a new city agency and its relationship to the university. Among her conclusions: Hire more outside consultants and urge the agency staff to meet more often.
Simmons, who received six other consulting contracts from UDC worth $17,200, subcontracted out substantial parts of the $20,000 study of a new agency within the Department of Public Works to two associates for a small percentage of the overall fee.
More than half of the resulting 52-page, double-spaced typewritten study is composed of reprints from the UDC course catalogue and a copy of questionnaires completed by the five staff members of the government agency, the Management Operations Analysis Division (OAD).
Besides hiring more outside consultants, the report recommended that the agency contract with an "outside facilitator" to conduct workshops.
It also suggested convening regular project meetings at least once a month, developing a professional library for the agency, and encouraging staff to visit other organizations doing similar work and attending pertinent courses offered by UDC.
Simmons is a former student and research assistant of Green, who taught and served as a dean at Michigan State University before becoming UDC president.
Simmons, an assistant professor of urban affairs at Michigan State, told a reporter in June that she did not receive her consulting contracts because of her friendship with Green and that she had produced "very serious reports" for UDC.
"I should hope I got the contracts because of my professional experience," she said. " She could not be reached for comment within the last week.
The stated purpose of the Simmons study was to suggest ways to develop training programs and better management skills for staff assigned to OAD, which was created to streamline departmental communications, improve management and boost productivity.
OAD was a relatively new agency when the consultant was hired last year, and its officials hoped to benefit by course offerings at UDC.
Sharon E. Pugh, special assistant to Public Works Director John E. Touchstone, said the report was "adequate in that it did identify what the development needs of the staff were and, yes, we are implementing some of the recommendations."
Pugh, who had responsibility for the agency last year when the study was prepared but who has since been transferred, did not specify which recommendations were adopted.
She said the department had put together a "training package" based on "many of the recommendations."
The report consists of many general statements, some of them couched in bureaucratic language.
For instance, on page 8, the report states: "The administrative behavioral dimension, directiveness initiated structure has been found to have a positive correlation with the performance of employes who are engaged in ambiguous tasks. The clarity with which employes perceive their functions impacts the level of performance, motivation, enterprise and morale on the part of the worker."
The documentation of the consulting contract raises a number of questions as well. The study was proposed by the university to provide educational linkage between the school and government agencies and was paid for in two contracts, each for $10,000.
Pugh said the second contract was approved because "we realized we wanted to expand the scope."
Pugh said nonconstruction public works contracts worth more than $10,000 must be submitted for review by the D.C. Department of Administrative Services.
She denied that the study was broken into two contracts to avoid such a review.
Other questions about the report linger. A footnote in the report appearing after the sentence, "One of the most difficult tasks facing the unit is the determination of information needs, thus providing decision frameworks for deployment and evaluation analyses," refers to a PhD thesis at the University of Michigan by M.P. Carter.
A university spokesman said no such thesis is listed there and no such individual has attended the university.