Somebody has it out for the Marine Technology department chair.
The auditors' report begins with a serious allegation from their hot line: "Allegedly, the Marine Technology Department Chair approved giving the motor to a graduating student (for use on the student’s private boat) in exchange for using the student’s boat free of charge."
and ended up justifying their disappointing $21,000 witch hunt with little more than a tempest in a teapot. This is what happened:
Ironically, this is an engine I neither requested nor particularly wanted. An acquaintance of mine at Yamaha called me out of the blue in 2009 and asked if I wanted one of their unsellable 2002 motors as a donation. This was during the depths of the great recession mind you and they wanted to get their product line in the hands of as many vocational/technical people as possible. A seven year old motor. They weren't interested in getting a tax write-off he told me, this was an engine they couldn't sell, one a customer wasn't happy with. Could we use it? To the best of my knowledge it was the school's inventory technician who placed the $6000 value on the motor based on the price of her husband's boat. Hardly a scientific appraisal.
I accepted the motor thinking I could use it in my engines classes, comparing Yamaha technology to Evinrude, the brand of engine we use. But it was too big, 250 hp, too complicated, too unwieldy for my introductory classes. I didn't have the special Yamaha tools for it, nor any controls to start and run the thing. The motor sat in my shop for two years. I began to regret accepting it.
In the meantime, one of my better students, familiar with Yamaha engines, had pestered me for over a year to let him try to use it. By then it was a nine year old motor. Hoping to accomplish two things at once -- free up shop space and get some user feedback as to the qualities of the motor -- I recieved permission from both Yamaha and my department chair to let my student use it. I repeat, I recieved permission, I would not have lent the motor out otherwise.
It soon became, "out of sight, out of mind," I didn't have any productive use for the motor, I had plenty of other, smaller ones for my students to work on by then. I procrastinated in getting it back. When yearly inventory came I checked it as "being accounted for," as I was certain it was in responsible hands. The day the auditors arrived I was able to contact the student and have the engine back in my shop that afternoon.
Despite this unfortunate event, I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to instruct hundreds of students over the years who share the love of the ocean that I have.
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