The Journal Inquirer is picking up on the ongoing management issues at Connecticut Innovations. From their report:
A key legislative leader says he wants to know more about why Connecticut Innovations Inc., the high technology venture capital firm started with state bonding money, can’t retain for more than a few months executives executives hired to lead it.
Sen. Bob Duff, the Norwalk Democrat who is majority whip in the Senate and co-chairman of the General Assembly’s Banks Committee, said Friday that the sudden resignations of the last two presidents at the quasi-public agency has raised serious concerns among lawmakers.
Frank A. Dinucci, a veteran investment banker from Wilton who was named as CII’s president and executive director last October, abruptly resigned from his $197,000-per-year post for “personal reasons” last month.
Dinucci replaced a CII veteran who had been selected to temporarily lead the agency after the similarly sudden departure of Chandler J. Howard, who had quit the top job after just seven months to help found a community development bank in New Haven.
“It seems like they’ve been rudderless for a while,” Duff said. “And they just had what I thought was a very good leader at the helm but in just a few short months he’s gone, just like the last guy.”
Of course trouble at Connecticut Innovations is nothing new. I wrote about the audit troubles last year.
Managing Your Money Poorly: Connecticut Innovations
The Journal Inquirer is reporting that Connecticut Innovations is basically … inept. How else to explain how a 2005 audit turned up things like the failure to to collect revenue from public utilities, and managed to execute contracts without signatures of either the executive director or VP of Finance. This is the agency that shepherds the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund.
Officials at Connecticut Innovations Inc., a quasi-public evelopment agency, have ignored their own rules in approving various e penditures and contracts, including “personal service agreements” tha cost more than $75,000 and were awarded without competitive bidding the state auditors say.
The auditors also say the agency, which administers the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund – which uses money from assessments on utility bills to promote renewable energy sources – may not have collected all of the revenue to which it was entitled. (source: Journal Inquirer)
The article goes on to report that Connecticut Innovations gets its funding from the two utility companies, CL & P and UI.
The fund gets monthly payments from two utility companies, the auditors said, but its documentation supporting the amounts paid by one “consisted of only an assessment calculation,” while the other “provided only a check.”
They added that while the agency requested more information from the utilities after the period covered by the audit, only one had responded.
CII officials said they agreed with the auditors’ findings and recommendations concerning its contract and invoice approvals and personal service agreements, according to the review.
The officials also said they would request a meeting with each electric utility to review the procedures in place and reports available pertaining to the billing and collection of the Clean Energy Fund charges. (source: Journal Inquirer)
Meanwhile CL &P wants to raise electricity rates 8.9%. UI should be announcing its rate increases this week. So must for deregulation and innovation. What was that about the liquid gas terminal in Long Island Sound again?
Journal Inquirer, Auditors rap development agency for contracts, Clean Energy revenue by Don Michak 11/20/06
So what is going on at Connecticut Innovations? And following the audit results, are financial procedures in place? These are the types of questions that should be raised.
“To the extent that the legislature can, we need to find out what’s happening over at CII,” he added. “Clearly, the governor should be as concerned as we are. While they may have an able team over there, they need a strong leader who can be there for a long time.”
Duff, who also serves as vice chairman of the legislature’s Energy and Technology Committee and as a member of its Appropriations Committee oversees state funding for CII, said the absence of a long-term leader there is compounded by a similar vacancy at the state Department of Economic and Community Development.
source: Journal Inquirer, Legislative leaders concerned about top slots at two state economic development agencies By Don Michak, 04/06/2007