Navy Axes NPS Top Brass After Investigation Reveals Culture of Rule-Breaking
November 27, 2012
The two top leaders of Monterey's prestigious Naval Postgraduate School are stepping down after a months-long Navy investigation showed they flouted rules and failed to comply with certain Navy regulations.
NPS President Dan Oliver and Provost Leonard Ferrari were fired by U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, according to a Navy announcement Tuesday afternoon.
The investigation and inspection launched in November 2011 after Navy officials received two separate complaints, and finally concluded on Nov. 21.
Navy inspection and investigations into management practices at the prestigious school determined that the school's leadership fostered an "atmosphere of defiance of statutory requirements and Department of the Navy rules and regulations," according to a Navy announcement.
"Taken as a whole, we conclude President Oliver’s conduct amounts to waste and gross mismanagement," the 98-page report on Oliver states.
Findings include Oliver's efforts to circumvent federal hiring policies. In one case, when a prospective employee didn't accept a job because she considered the $162,000 annual salary too low, Oliver arranged for a contractor to hire her on at $275,000.
“I had interviewed the next best qualified, and it just didn’t float my boat,” Oliver told investigators.
On the pervasive culture of bending the rules, inspectors wrote, "While [Oliver] may have perceived doing so would achieve the 'greater good' of making NPS a world class research university, we reject this justification for rule-breaking."
The investigation also reported that Oliver and Ferrari inappropriately accepted gifts from an independent private foundation organized to support the school.
Inspectors also found that Oliver and Ferrari routinely failed to solicit and consider advice from NPS's technical experts, including attorneys.
Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, Juan Garcia, will lead a working group to chart NPS's future and implement the recommendations of the reports. Investigators found academic integrity at NPS to be uncompromised.
Mabus appointed Rear Adm. Jan Tighe, a 2001 NPS graduate, as interim president and Vice Provost of Academic Affairs, O. Douglas Moses, as acting provost.