After almost two months of paid administrative leave, Mountainland Applied Technology President Clay Christensen will be going back to work.
Amid allegations that he had something to do with the college accepting an offer to build a parade float for the Utah County Republican Party, Christensen was cleared of any intentional wrongdoing in the matter.
He will return to work at the Orem campus Friday.
"It appears that President Christensen's efforts were to rectify errors as he became aware of them, and there was no personal gain or intent to misuse public funds," Utah College of Applied Technology acting president Jared A. Haines said Thursday. Former UCAT president Robert O. Brems officially resigned from his post under the same and additional allegations on Sept. 19.
Following the release of a state audit on Aug. 22, UCAT completed an internal review of the findings. Haines said the UCAT committee collected facts and circumstances of the actions. They evaluated the matter seeking "indicators of the campus president's intent driving those actions," he said.
The audit cited the campus president as being directly involved with the float project, attempting to process payments for float costs and work done through accounts payable at the school. The audit pointed out that state law prohibits the use of public monies for political purposes.
At the time, Christensen noted in a response to findings that none of the hours worked on the float which totalled more than $1,000 were ultimately paid for by the campus, as private donors were asked to cover any outstanding costs. He agreed with the auditor's recommendation to give more attention to the financial affairs of the campus in the future.
Haines' decision to permit Christensen to return to work was made following discussions with both the UCAT Board of Trustees and the MATC Board of Directors. Both boards, he said, gave strong recommendations to reinstate Christensen.
"We view this as an isolated incident," Haines said. "Under President Christensen's leadership, the MATC will implement the improvements to internal controls and oversight identified in its response to the state audit."
Auditors recommended in August that safeguards be put in place to prohibit further misuse of public funds, and both Haines and Christensen have said they are willing to see that is done.
In a response to the UCAT review, Christensen wrote that he will work diligently to implement any necessary remedial measures."We are confident that President Christensen and the MATC will capably serve the citizens and students of the Mountainland region," Haines said.
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