An audit showing the UW System with a big budget surplus was a top story in 2013.
The audit released in April showed the UW System sitting on a $648 million surplus, and Republican legislators were quick to pile on UW System President Kevin Reilly. Representative Steve Nass, a longtime adversary of the UW, even calling Reilly a fraud, and suggesting laws may have been broken. “That is something the state of Wisconsin is going to have to take a hard look at,” Nass said.
Reilly was called on the carpet at a previously scheduled legislative hearing on a proposed personnel system for the UW – and did his best to defend the surplus as needed because of the uncertainty over much of the UW System’s funding. “We’ll also come up with what I think I heard we need, which is a more detailed financial reporting on an annual basis, on what those reserves are,” Reilly said.
Republican lawmakers, like Senator Mike Ellis of Neenah, were less than satisfied. “The Board of Regents appears not to be in charge and in control,” Ellis said. “That’s a sad commentary and we’re going to take a hard look at it.”
Governor Scott Walker eventually signed a budget that included a tuition freeze, and in July Reilly announced his retirement as UW System President.