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USF Poly budget director Bresler says he’ll fight efforts to fire him

Posted May 14, 2012 by Lindsay Peterson

Updated May 14, 2012 at 08:59 PM

USF Polytechnic budget director Josh Bresler is fighting USF’s plans to get rid of him amid an investigation into financial mismanagement at Poly.

He’s given his life to USF, he wrote in a response letter on May 4 and a news release issued by his lawyer Robert McKee today.

In the May 4 letter, he appealed directly to USF President Judy Genshaft to take into account his years of above-and-beyond service to USF. But McKee, of Tampa, said he got word this morning that USF intended to make his termination final today.

In today’s news release, he wrote that USF Polytechnic staff and administrators were “caught in the midst of a political storm” revolving around the Legislature’s decision this year to close USF Polytechnic and take its budget and assets to open the new Florida Polytechnic University in Lakeland.

Eleven of 16 people picked internally in October to help start an independent Polytechinc USF have been fired or chased away, Bresler wrote, concluding, “The strategy to dismantle and discredit this transition team is obvious and is injust on an unimaginable scale.”

The investigation that led to Bresler’s case began with complaints to USF in February. Officials released their results three weeks ago in a report that focused on then-Chancellor Marshall Goodman, saying he created a “hostile” environment with “threats, intimidation and retaliation that resulted in violation of policy and statute.”

It detailed about a dozen violations and recommended that Bresler and Alice Murray, vice chancellor for planning and facilities, be fired. It honed in on their roles in getting state funds to cover a soda fountain in an off-campus facility.

The campus foundation had paid for it at one time, but when it refused to continue, the USF investigative report said, Bresler, seeking to appease Goodman, put it through as an “equipment rental” cost.

Murray, who was also involved, resigned last week.

Bresler is pushing back, saying he wasn’t aware of the misinformation on the requisition when he signed it. He said the episode pales against his long unblemished career.

USF doesn’t see it that way. “Your apparent efforts to circumvent University financial controls or claimed ignorance of those controls cannot be tolerated,” said the notice of termination letter.

 

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