After his dismissal, the board of trustees discovered that a reserve account of nearly $2 million had been drained to less than $200,000 by the time of his departure. Most of that was spent on the rental of office space in a new office building, the downtown Riverpoint One, a waterfront property along the Spokane River.
The board also claimed that Taylor had not told them about other financial decisions, such as purchasing (for half a million dollars) a student registration and book ordering system . . . that didn’t work.
Taylor frequently likes to depict himself as the object of unfair scrutiny and biased oversight. For example, after an audit revealed an irregularity in which he used a Community Colleges of Spokane charge card to pay for his wife’s airfare (nearly $2,000) on a “business” trip that he was making to Africa, he was quoted as saying “I’ve been under more scrutiny than any other CEO for doing the same types of travel or making the same administrative decisions.” After being summarily fired from the Community Colleges of Spokane, Taylor characterized the dismissal as “absolutely unfair.” The inability to admit his own management blunders seems to characterize his executive employment. It’s always somebody else’s fault or the result of bias against him.
After he left Peralta Community College District in Oakland, California (to become president of a community colllege in Virginia) the Berkeley Daily Planet reported that a construction project that Taylor had overseen required numerous change orders that were the result of his mismanagement.
Peralta General Services Director Sadiq Ikharo told the Peralta Board of Trustees that a little over half a million dollars had been spent for “change orders” on the $65 million Vista project. Vista College President Judy Walters told the trustees that she would present them with a package of new requested “change orders” and blamed the need for those changes on former Peralta chief operating officer Charles A. Taylor, who she said “cut off communications between Vista [the college] and Ratcliff [construction project designers Ratcliff Architects] in November of 2003. We knew back then that these changes were needed but for whatever reason, Charles Taylor told Vista representatives they couldn’t talk to the architects.”
There has never been evidence of deliberate fraud, but a pattern of fiscal problems is alarming.
NEXT INSTALLMENT IN THE SERIES: Hey Big Spender!
Want to find out more? Further reading:
- Audit finds CCS erred by ‘loaning’ state credit, by Virginia de Leon, Spokesman Review, June 22, 2001
- Settlements Drain CCS, Taxpayers, The Spokane Spokesman-Review, September 30, 2001
- CCS Finds Reserves Depleted, The Spokesman-Review, November 8, 2001
- Who’s to blame by Pia K Hansen, The Pacific Northwest Inlander, November 8, 2001
- Report of Whistleblower Investigation, CCS, #01-133, May 22, 2001
- CCS leaders’ spending outpaces WSU, EWU by Virginia de Leon, Spokesman Review, February 1, 2002
- New Vista College Campus on Track for 2006, Berkley Daily Planet, April 26, 2005