A top University of West Georgia official is resigning, two months after his termination of a whistleblower cost taxpayers $272,000. A state audit in April found that university VP Michael Ruffner had improperly hired Capitol Hill lobbyists and questioned the firing of an assistant who complained about it.
The University of West Georgia may have broken whistleblower protection and open records laws, as well as state purchasing rules, a state investigation suggests. James Naughton thinks so too. He’s filed suit alleging his boss, Michael Ruffner, fired him for questioning the unauthorized hiring of a Washington lobbyist and misleading the school’s foundation in order to jack up fees charged to donors.
Rep. Mark Butler secretly taped conversations with University of West Georgia officials after they fired a lobbyist who was his former girlfriend, the Carrollton Times-Georgian reports. Butler later called the university to complain, telling a secretary that her boss “had just pissed off the whole political party firing Erin. This includes Speaker of the House, Rules Chairman and Senate.”
When Wayne Clough left Georgia Tech last year, he drove off with $1.8 million in deferred pay, behind the wheel of a 2007 Lexus hybrid SUV given to him by the school’s foundation. Carl Patton and Michael Adams have received similarly sweet deals. All told, 10 University System executives have pocketed or accrued more than $7 million since 2004 in deferred pay. Officials say furloughs will not affect the amounts.