Email from Robert M. Tarola to the Council of Deans
Dear Council of Deans:
I became aware of your letter to the Trustees dated June 6, 2013, only recently. I am sorry that I have not spoken with you directly for almost a year. My company, Right Advisory LLC, and I have only the utmost respect for Howard University and what you are trying to achieve.
President Ribeau has insisted on transparency, communication and dialog about financial matters. As CFO of Howard I have followed that directive. All financial reports are readily available on Howard's website at www.howard.edu/financialservices/. However, I will resume sending them to you personally as well. Please see attached for the latest Treasurer's Report for the facts of Howard's financial situation as of March 2013.
I welcome an opportunity to meet with you and answer any and all of your questions. My professional obligation is to follow the directives of the President and Board, and to carry out the CFO's fiduciary duties under financial covenants and Howard's by-laws. I do so with pride, experience and commitment.
Given the comments, conclusions and demands in your letter, I would like to point out a few matters:
1 - PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP never disclosed why they decided not to stand for reappointment; 2 - All of the information provided to you has held up to internal and external audit; 3 - The federal government is reducing Howard's support by at least $25 million in FY2014 - causing difficult decisions to be made about spending budgets; 4 - Howard has used every dollar of operating cash in the past three years to fund academic, faculty and facilities renewal, and to fund its pension plan; 5 - All of the cash available for facilities renewal came from working people (inside and outside of Howard) who bought Howard's bonds and invested in banks which provided loans - and who require metrics to be met each year; 6 - Since 2010 over $50 million of budget capacity was created by way of savings from administrative renewal; 7 - Research revenue has been in the current range for many years prior to Right Advisory becoming involved with Howard; 8 - The CFO does not make resource allocation decisions, only the measurements of available resources; 9 - Strong financial management over the past several years has helped fund a doubling of institutional financial aid; and, 10 - Compliance with federal regulations is better now than in many years, as evidenced by NSF re-establishing Howard to full draw-down status.
I acknowledge that we can do a better job of keeping you informed - and I commit to doing so going forward.
Robert M. Tarola Senior Vice President for Administration, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer