9/19/2011: Be clear: this is not some lowly professor abusing the system. It’s a politically well connected administrator, using $4500 in state funds for his “working trip” to England and Paris. From Brent Walth in WWeek:
“We concluded that there was not a valid conference to justify PSU’s reimbursement of Mr. Button’s European trip,” the audit says. “While Mr. Burton may have attended one to two business meetings, he was unable to account for the majority of the trip itinerary.” …
… The auditors also said emails sent by Burton show he set up the trip in part to visit family in Europe. Auditors found that Burton wrote to an official in Europe to say he was looking for a conference he could attend to help justify his trip. According to the audit, Burton wrote, “My stepdaughter lives in Surrey and her 50th birthday is coming up in September and I’m looking for an excuse to visit.”
… He said he did attend meetings in England and one day of a conference in France. He said he spent three days in Paris ill in bed at his hotel.
Bummer, except he’s probably lying about that too. Audit report here. The only other case I’ve heard of where an administrator had to pay back an Oregon university was our own Dave Frohnmayer. Both he and Burton – also a former state legislator with some political pull – were allowed to leave gracefully.
I hope Governor Kitzhaber does the same with Chancellor Pernsteiner, and quick. With or without the grace. And yes, I’ve got a PR request in for more expense reports, so keep that single malt coming.