The firings of the school's president and provost come after an investigation by the Navy's inspector general. It found that the president, Daniel Oliver, failed to comply with federal and naval regulations, circumvented federal hiring authorities and inappropriately accepted gifts from a private foundation that supports the school.
The investigation also found that the provost, Leonard Ferrari, did not comply with Navy regulations and accepted gifts from the foundation.
According to the IG report, Oliver arranged for an unidentified woman to be hired as a contractor so that she could be paid more money than the school could legitimately offer. The report said Oliver circumvented federal salary limits after the applicant turned down the school's initial salary offer of $162,000, with a recruitment bonus of $25,000, according to the IG report. The offer was the maximum allowed under federal salary caps at that time, in 2009.
The report said Oliver arranged for an existing school contractor—Digital Consulting Services—to hire the woman, for a salary of $275,000, which she accepted.
"We conclude President Oliver's conduct amounts to waste and gross mismanagement," the IG report said.
The report also said that Oliver solicited and accepted gifts from the foundation, including a gas grill and patio furniture for his home on the campus, in violation of Navy procedures. The IG also concluded that both Oliver and Ferrari authorized the foundation to repay themselves, faculty members and staff for expenses—such as luncheons, dinners, small gifts, or wine for a reception—that they knew they could not otherwise use school funding to buy.
Oliver, a retired vice admiral and naval aviator, has held the job since April 2007, and Ferrari has been in place since July 2006.
Mabus has appointed Rear Adm. Jan Tighe to serve as interim school president, and O. Douglas Moses, the current vice provost of academic affairs, will serves as the acting provost. Mabus also has created a working group that will implement the recommendations in the IG report.
A message seeking comment from the school was not immediately returned.
Oliver and Ferrari could not be located for comment.