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University of Louisville Hires Finance Officer in Wake of Money Management Woes

A new hire at the University of Louisville will take on the combined roles of chief financial officer and chief operations officer.

Harlan Sands will move into the newly created position at the beginning of the year, according to a news release.

His hiring follows a series of recommendations from an auditing firm that determined that UofLneeds tighter financial controls.

Louisville-based Strothman and Company took the lead in conducting a financial review of the university earlier this year at the urging of President James Ramsey.  The review followed a string of thefts and embezzlements at the university.

The results of the review were have been the source of of an open records battle between the university and Louisville Public Media's Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.

Ramsey said in a news release “it is the right time for UofL to make changes to our administrative structure.”

He said the CFO/COO will take “advantage of the retirements of two vice presidents and collapses the financial and business functions into one administrative unit.”

Sands is currently the vice provost for administration and quality improvement at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  In that role he oversees financial, personnel and administrative operations of the academic units that report to the provost, according to a news release.

“I’ve been part of every major resource decision at my current institution,” Sands told WFPL Thursday.  “I’m very proud of my track record.”

Sands said he looks forward to addressing the financial issues at UofL.

“I’ve handled many, many challenging things in my administrative things in my career and I’m very, very prepared for the challenge,” he said.

The Strothman and Company report called for improved financial oversight, standardization of the school’s financial policies, improved controls over payroll and reviewing several bank accounts to determine whether they should be closed.

Sands said the entire leadership team at UofL must consider these recommendations “together” in order to successfully move forward.

“Once I learn more about the structure of the university and how things are done and the things that are required, we will set some priorities and we’ll move forward,” he said.

Sands joined the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2007. Previously, he held a number of positions at Florida International University. Sands also served 10 years in the U.S. Navy, attaining the rank of Lt. Commander, and worked four years as an assistant public defender in the Miami court system, according to a UofL news release.

Jacob Ryan is the managing editor of the Kentucky Center for Investigative reporting. He's an award-winning investigative reporter who joined LPM in 2014. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.

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