Purchase of $ 250,000 Kean University conference table broke state and school policies: OSC

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Union, NJ – Kean University violated the state and its own policies by purchasing a conference table from China for a total of $ 250,000, the New Jersey State Comptroller’s Office said.

Even before the university’s board of trustees voted on the purchase, the custom-built table had already been built and was making its way onto a ship from China in May 2014, according to the OSC.

Several items were uncovered during the OSC’s investigation, proving the purchase was in progress before board approval.

An email sent five months ago where the president of Kean University gave the “green light” and approved the purchase has been discovered.

Other documents, payments and correspondents were also found as evidence of the OSC’s findings.

As a result, the purchase did not follow state procurement laws and even the University’s own procurement policy.

“It was a deal done before the board vote,” state comptroller Philip James Degan said in a statement.

Kean University has attempted to claim two exceptions to the law on public tendering, including: “extraordinary non-specifiable services which cannot reasonably be described by written specifications” and “the acquisition of artefacts and d ‘other elements of a unique intrinsic, artistic or historical character’.

Despite the university’s claims, the OSC found that Kean had failed to prove how the table fell within these exceptions. The OSC even found evidence of an architect with the specs on it.

As a result of the investigation, the OSC recommended that Kean provide appropriate training for academic staff and update and modify its policies and procedures.

  • Kean University Statement:

The William F. Loehning Conference Center in Kean University’s Green Lane Academic Building is a proud and positive development and asset for the University which serves the region and state. Through a lengthy due diligence process in accordance with the State College Contracts Act, the University was awarded the best value for money on a unique and extraordinary architectural device designed to support the Global Business School of Kean and others. programs. The report released by the State Comptroller’s Office contains significant omissions that explain Kean’s actions. Kean University has acted legally and transparently throughout the development process of the Loehning Conference Center. The OSC’s recommendations are already in place.

The conference center, and the university’s final decision to work with its Chinese partners on the development of the center, was the culmination of a comprehensive strategic plan for the top floor of the facility approved by the leaders of the university and the board of trustees. This strategy is in the process of being realized. The conference center has already generated invaluable interest and income from alumni, investors, business leaders and lawmakers. The Conference Center has hosted dozens of political roundtables on important state, local and national issues, including: solitary confinement; rampant drug abuse among New Jersey adolescents; domestic violence; the issues facing New Jersey’s Latino community and the nation; and the ramifications of the Affordable Care Act on business and government. The Conference Center also hosted representatives from 25 Chinese universities for an interesting session on the globalization of higher education; serves as a meeting place for members of the Global Business School Advisory Board; received the Consul General of the People’s Republic of China; hosted a remarkable exchange between human rights activists that connected Kean students with community activists in Congo and Washington DC; hosted several state and municipal agencies and officials, such as New Jersey Transit, Elizabeth Development Company, Jersey City Mayor, and Union County Acting Attorney; and has already generated a surplus of $ 22,000 in rental income and $ 250,000 in donations for the University.


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