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Politics & Government

USTAR Governing Authority Responds to Scathing Audit

Brian Grimmett
USTAR Governing Authority Chairman Greg Bell testifies before the Business, Economic Development, and Labor Appropriations Subcommittee

Members of the Utah Science Technology and Research Initiative or USTAR Governing body responded to a scathing audit today during one of the appropriations subcommittee at the Capitol.

The original legislative audit was released in October and claimed that USTAR reported inaccurate return on investment numbers, overstated revenues and did not provide adequate oversight of research funds and research buildings. In response, USTAR board members hired an independent company to perform an audit of their own. Their report showed that the organization was meeting most of the goals set for it when it was created in 2005, but it had not created as many jobs as projected. Even after their presentation Sen. Stuart Reid, R - Ogden, was still unhappy with USTAR’s inability to show whether or not it’s a wise investment.

“My recommendation to you is that you set up a model that’s an ongoing model so that you can identify the progress that you’re going to be making, because I can just tell you that the legislature isn’t going to keep funding this if you can’t demonstrate real progress," he says. "It’s just not going to happen.”

But Former Lt. Governor Greg Bell, who is now the chairman of the USTAR governing authority, says they’re doing what they can to implement those recommendations.

“We’re trying to take Sen. Reid’s and the legislative auditor’s recommendation to have ongoing reporting methodology," Bell says. "It’s not simple, but we’ve think we’ve developed that.”

The committee will hear from the USTAR governing authority again on Thursday morning to discuss the specific details of the agency’s budget. 

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