State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.
The results, for the most part, show good news. The two schools have followed requirements for awarding and monitoring their funding. Most of the grant recipients met goals outlined in their proposals. However, the LAB did find some exceptions.
Here is the background. The Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance issued an order during March 2000 that converted Blue Cross Blue Shield United of Wisconsin from a not-for-profit hospital service insurance corporation to a for-profit, publicly held stock insurance corporation. The order provided $630.4 million to endowments held by the Medical College of Wisconsin and the University of Wisconsin (UW)
The LAB conducted an analysis of the schools at the request of the Insurance Commissioner’s Office. The Bureau’s findings follow.
A UW project was awarded $450,000 to fund implementation of a home visitation program for low-income families, but the grant application did not detail the types of activities and services to be provided.”
The two schools require grant recipients to provide progress reports for the purpose of monitoring. In six cases, the reports failed to have adequate information to determine progress and in 18 cases, grant recipients altered project objectives of functions without the necessary approval of the schools.
Did the grant recipients achieve their stated goals? The LAB found 46 of the 80 grants met all or most of their goals or are likely to meet their goals by the end of the grant period. Five of the 80 projects studied met few of their goals or appear unlikely to meet goals. They include:
A $25,000 UW public health planning project that did not complete its primary goal of developing a strategic plan for an organization of family caregivers, nor did it apply for grants to continue support of the organization.”
While both schools according to the LAB have carefully monitored their endowment balances, the LAB expressed concern at the lack of requirements for the schools’ oversight and advisory committee members to abstain from voting on projects proposed by entities that either employed or had financial relationships with committee members.
The LAB, as is their practice, offers insightful and helpful recommendations. This audit’s offers counsel to the two schools:
- Ensure that project proposals include clear objectives before funds are awarded.
- Improve project monitoring, including clarifying when grant recipients must inform program staff of changes modifications to project objectives.
- Ensure that grant applicants disclose all external funding on their supplanting forms and clarify conflict-of-interest policies.
- The Commissioner of Insurance should work with both medical schools to ensure that funds are spent consistently with the intent of the 2000 order.