State Auditor Mike Foley is critical of some of the travel expenses by the four-campus University of Nebraska system.
Foley says his staff has reviewed a small sample of the $30 million a year travel expenditures by the university system.
“But out of that small sample, we found $96,000 of first-class airline tickets, mostly at the Med Center,” Foley tells Kevin Thomas, host of Drive Time Lincoln on Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN.
Foley says the tickets ranged in price from $4,000 to $6,000; mostly tickets to fly first-class to Europe.
“The state accounting manual, which the university is bound to abide by, makes it very clear that for government travel you are to fly coach and if you want to fly first-class, you pay the difference,” according to Foley.
Foley says he will bring the findings to the attention of the university Board of Regents.
He says the university needs better procedures to track and monitor expenses.
“We’ve never seen anything this egregious at the other state agencies,” Foley says. “If this had happened at HHS, or Department of Roads, or Department of Labor or something, I think some heads would roll, but the university, sometimes they kind of play by their own rules when they’re not supposed to. I think this is going to be an embarrassment for them and they need to fix it. It’s something they can address, they should address, and hopefully they will.”