Two resign from Poly amidst financial investigations

Two USF Polytechnic employees have resigned, citing unacceptable working environments, according to resignation letters sent to Interim Chancellor David Touchton, Thursday.

Samantha Lane, Polytechnic spokeswoman, and Maggie Mariucci, director of development, resigned Thursday, one week after Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill that will make USF Polytechnic Floridas 12th public university, effective July 1.

In her letter, Marriucci said she was resigning because the environment at USF Polytechnic had become toxic.

The attitude toward long-serving employees in leadership is hostile and unwelcoming, she said. Also it has become quite clear that my knowledge, expertise and skills are not valued here.

Mariucci cited her personal health and family well-being as other reasons for her resignation. Lane said the campus environment had become hostile and destructive.

In an email to The Oracle, Interim Chancellor David Touchton said he met with Lane and Mariucci on Tuesday and said there are some employees who have met with Human Resources in recent weeks who were not happy with the process and not happy with their names being associated with the results of their review.

No one enjoys such an audit and the teach-out status does not add joy to everyone’s day, Touchton said. I have enjoyed Samantha and Maggie and was surprised they did not call me since it was a regular occurrence to talk to each other by cell phone. I wish them well and the remaining professionals will accomplish the task at hand.

The news comes one day after audit reports revealed that two other Polytechnic employees, Regional Vice Chancellor for Planning and Facilities Alice Murray and Budget Director Josh Bresler, had been placed on administrative leave by USF. Reports also revealed that further investigation into former regional chancellor Marshall Goodman would be pursued.

State Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, who called for an external audit of Polytechnic finances last October, said he hopes USF fires Goodman, who was removed from his position in December but retained his $262431.50 salary.

His actions are absolutely unconscionable, he said in an interview with The Oracle. His spending habits absolutely cannot be tolerated. Its taxpayers money that is being wasted. My hope is he will be fired immediately and not be given his salary of over $200,000 a year (for) doing absolutely nothing.

Fasano said the financial irresponsibility brought to light could jeopardize the future of the new Polytechnic University.

Both Senator Dockery and myself called for an independent audit months ago, he said. Months ago. That was totally ignored by Goodman and others at Polytech. Of course now were finding out why he didnt want to do the in-depth, independent outside audit. I think credibility is on the line. Credibility with the new USF Polytech is absolutely on the line. A bold move needs to be made immediately.

But Goodmans attorney Robin Gibson said after the chancellor supported Polytechnics independence, some considered him “disloyal.”

But Gibson said Goodman hasnt changed and did what he thought was best for the model of a STEM university.

“Marshall is the same person today four years ago or five years ago when he was getting all of the accolades from USF for his job performance, and now it’s a 180 difference, Gibson said. And it seems to coincide with the fact that Polytechnic has become independent. Now he is persona non grata.”

Gibson said the situation looks bad for USF as USF Polytechnics previous audit revealed no damaging details.

“While Polytech was a branch of USF and all of these things that are now being complained were going on the audit that was ordered by the auditor general of Florida gave good results for the management of USF (Polytechnic).”

Fasano said he wishes the attention had been given to the issue earlier.

I was never in support of creating the 12th university, but its a done deal now, he said. I wish the reports had come out sooner. It may have changed the minds of some of my colleagues and even the governor, allowing the legislation to become law and become the 12th public university.