In May 2008, UW was contracted by the state Department of Social and Health Services to create a health-promotion program for McNeil Island sex offenders, and was paid every month between $3,000 and $5,000 to work on the project. Six months later, the only work that had been produced by UW was "a set of PowerPoint handouts that had been prepared for another agency and relabeled for the Department."
The news comes from a new report by Washington State Auditor Brian Sonntag, who was tipped off via a whistleblower who worked on the project.
The report shows fault with both the university for failing to deliver what it was contracted to do and DSHS for keeping on paying the university despite getting nothing.
The UW and DSHS employees overseeing the debacle aren't named in the report. Neither is it made clear what became of the $24,070.83 that was paid to UW for its generic PowerPoint handouts.
We'll try and get answers to both those questions today.
UPDATE: We just got three names from Sonntag's office as to who was responsible for the work/payment failure.
At UW, Associate Professor Clarence Spigher had been responsible for doing the research and the bulk of the work that never got done.
Also Lynne Chronister, UW's assistant vice provost of research in Office of Sponsored Programs, failed to make sure that work got done.
And at DSHS, the person who kept paying the university though it produced no work was Cathie Harris.
As for where the money went, Mindy Chambers, the state auditor's director of communications, says that the audit didn't look at what became of the money because "it wasn't a large amount of money and DSHS said it would attempt to recover the money."