Crown Jewel

Discussion in 'Merchant Marine Academy - USMMA' started by DinghyMom, Feb 6, 2010.

  1. DinghyMom

    DinghyMom Member

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    Source: American Shipper+ Shippers' NewsWire Date Posted: 1/27/2010 12:03:27 PM
    Matsuda asked to improve Kings Point

    Matsuda
    President Obama’s nominee for U.S. maritime administrator was asked by a senior lawmaker from New Jersey to make it one of his priorities to improve operations at the country’s primary merchant marine officers training school.
    “The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy is in unacceptable condition,” said Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who led the Senate Commerce Committee nomination hearing Tuesday for David T. Matsuda to head the Maritime Administration. “Its infrastructure is deteriorating. It’s had difficulty maintaining leadership and nearly $20 million in financial reporting violations were recently discovered.”
    The Kings Point, N.Y.-based academy is a component of MarAd and one of five U.S. service academies. The school is affiliated with 14 non-appropriated fund instrumentalities and two foundations.
    Related News
    • GAO Merchant Marine academy needs internal controls

    “We’re taking a very close look at the academy at Kings Point,” Matsuda told the committee. “One of (Transportation) Secretary LaHood’s priorities is to make Kings Point the crown jewel of the service academies and I share that vision.”
    The Government Accountability Office released a report in early September stating that the Merchant Marine Academy engaged in “improper and questionable” uses of funds. The report added that the academy has suffered “numerous breakdowns in its stewardship responsibilities with respect to maintaining accountability over the receipt and use of funds.”

    Lautenberg
    Matsuda said MarAd is reviewing all 47 recommendations in the GAO report, including leadership, financial accountability, facility investment and ship officer training.
    In November 2009, Rear Adm. Allen Worley announced his resignation as superintendent of the academy, effective Jan. 4. Worley had held the post for about a year.
    Shashi Kumar, assistant superintendent for academic affairs, will serve as interim superintendent while MarAd conducts a search for a new school leader.
    The Merchant Marine Academy was created in 1943 to develop licensed officers for commercial shipping fleets.
    In the past year, MarAd and the school have taken steps to attract more candidates, including cutting student fees in half, hiring an outside accounting firm to improve academy finances, and establishing a blue-ribbon panel to catalog the school’s capital needs and make recommendations for upgrades.
    “It’s critical in my view that the United States has fleet representation out there that can manage to be effective to be called upon in an emergency,” such as during the most recent deployment of several MarAd vessels to transport humanitarian supplies to earthquake-ravaged Haiti, Lautenberg said.

    LaHood
    Matsuda has been serving as deputy administrator and acting maritime administrator of MarAd since July. He previously was deputy assistant secretary for policy at the Transportation Department, focusing on issues including surface transportation reauthorization, maritime matters, labor issues and high-speed rail. Prior to that, he spent seven years on Capitol Hill, serving as senior counsel and primary transportation advisor to Lautenberg.
    Matsuda is expected to become maritime administrator after the Senate approves his nomination. — Chris Gillis
     
  2. 2013Parent

    2013Parent Member

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  3. username

    username Member

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    sweet
     
  4. 2013Parent

    2013Parent Member

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    There are really very few folks that post on here. (regularly) These posters are obviously interested in the USMMA. Out of that small number is even a smaller subset that have firsthand knowledge and experience regarding KP. Whether they are alum, students, or whatever, they seem to have a great deal to offer to those of us still learning about the place.

    All that being said, could some of you please elaborate on when KP began to deteriorate (if it has), have probelms with it's leadership (if it does)???

    Please know, this board is a lot like Wikepedia - Not everything here is fact, but it is a valuable resource for those that might be able to at least know that and attempt to separate the wheat from the chaff.
     
  5. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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    2013Parent: Sorry feel free to PM me and I'll gladly share my personal views of when things started to deterioate, etc. but I just don't feel this is the place to post anything but cold hard facts on this subject for public consumption & discourse.
     
  6. 2013Parent

    2013Parent Member

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    Jasperdog, thanks. You are one of the folks on here that I value and look forward to hearing from.

    With that being said, two thoughts;

    Many of us would like more cold hard facts. Bring them on. It will help keep us, without those facts, from drawing conclusions based on something less.

    Secondly, it brings to mind an interesting paradox. If this is the place for only cold hard facts, the board would probably have fewer posts and less vitality. (that is not a fact, just my opinion!)
     
  7. fairwinds

    fairwinds Member

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    I agree with 2013parent. We want to hear "the good, the bad and the ugly."

    This forum has been so helpful to my son in the application/nomination phase...I am hopeful that it can also be beneficial to him in the decision-making phase.

    He really wants to hear it all, especially from those who have so much knowlege about KP.

    Thanks!
     
  8. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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    The cold, hard facts are that every Academy has "the good, the bad, and the ugly." It is also a cold hard fact that many folks are not "fans" of any of the Academies.

    At times, I like every Alumni, bleed Blue and Gray, further like pretty much every Kings Pointer who has gotten through third class sea year I tend to be arrogant to a fault at times, so very few of my views on any of this could be called objective, let alone unbiased.

    All that said, I am comfortable in saying the following based on statements I've heard from Secretary LaHood second hand and Administrator Matsuda first hand. I believe they are sincere and committed to improving the quality of education, training and facilities at Kings Point and truly want to see KP become a crown jewel like the other Academies generally are. Historically, KP and the State Maritime Academies, while getting significant portions of funding authorized by Congress for MARAD, have like other Non-DoD Infrastructure to maintain and improve things on an ongoing basis. This has been one thing all KP friends and proponents agree upon. My optimism comes from two places, Secretary LaHood is a former Congressman who knows how the money things work and still has friends in that branch. Administrator Matsuda is a former Senate staffer - he worked for Senator Lautenberg, he too has a reputation as a top notch guy and solid citizen on the Hill. Right now that's something KP needs, further as has been covered previously prior to being elected to Congress, Secretary LaHood was a professional educator - this is a lifelong avocation for him.

    As far as when did things start deteriorating relative to Physical plant and facilities, to some the degree, the day each Capital expenditure/project is completed is the honest answer. O&M funds are never felt by those who have those responsibilities to be sufficient and in all cases those folks usually can point to valid concerns/issues. That goes true for some DoD facilities as well, particularly older barracks on Army bases, for example.

    Does KP have a leadership issue? I would guardedly respond with an honest, not on the whole. Sure there are some specific issues, and a lot of the current churn/angst is because many, if not most are resistive to change and after 10 years under the leadership of a strong personality like VADM Stewart, there are some things that are definitely changing.

    None of that changes the fact that USMMA, like USNA, USMA, USAFA and USCGA are great institutions, that serve the country well for each of their intended purposes. That said none of them are the right place for everybody...and they all are in some ways similar but in many more ways they are each unique.

    Probably not the typoe of answer you were looking for, alot more PC then I usually tend to be, but it is honestly how I feel.
     
  9. fairwinds

    fairwinds Member

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    Thank you, jasperdog.

    I look forward to your posts because I know I will probably learn something which I didn't already know. Your posts are always honest, and I think the people who read these forums appreciate that.

    Thanks!
     
  10. username

    username Member

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    I'll take a stab

    4th Company was the first barracks to remodeled. Last year they thought it might have to be bull dozed. Supposedly, it had a big crack in the roof that threatened the structural integrity of the whole building. I don't know whatever happened to that.

    Although not a necessity, dessert got cut from the menu at lunch.

    Engineering laboratories need to be modernized to reflect the last 30 years or more of new construction in the American merchant fleet. The diesel simulator lab broke while I was training on it. The money to fix it did not exist. A shame, since it might have been the most useful class I took with respect to plant operation.

    The one exception was the electrical lab which was largely under used except by CDR Gardner and adjunct Professor Jennings. It always worked as expected.

    The machine shop and welding lab did not have enough money to buy metal stock.

    The run down labs did have a charm to them.

    Money did not exist in the budget to pay the company officers overtime. I liked this because LCDR Eddie Ragin only cared about money so as soon as he was not being paid, he left.
     
  11. kpparent

    kpparent Member

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    On monday,Feb.2, the president's fiscal year budget allocates $100 million for Kings Point. $31 million for capital projects,compared to$15 million for 2010,and $8 million for 2009. If approved by congress, this funding should go a long way in reversing the decline of the physical plant at K.P.
     
  12. 2013Parent

    2013Parent Member

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    Let's keep our fingers and toes crossed.
     
  13. KPDADTX57

    KPDADTX57 Member

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  14. KPDADTX57

    KPDADTX57 Member

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  15. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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    Good Link KPDadTX
     
  16. 2013Parent

    2013Parent Member

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    Wow. Lot's of good reading here. No shortage of facts.

    What in the world is the $6,000,000 being paid back to midshipmen for; "fees that were overcharged" ????

    My guess is that does not apply to 2013, since fees were lower/different for this class than most of the previous classes?
     
  17. 2013Parent

    2013Parent Member

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  18. yogijer

    yogijer Member

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  19. 2013Parent

    2013Parent Member

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    I found some info about the fees - beginning on page 36.

    Thanks yojijer!
     
  20. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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    The GAO Report (link attached) has details about the midshipman fees involved that the $6M in the President's submitted budget is intended to be used to refund on page 9 & 10 (estimates range to as much as $1.2M of the $7M collected over the two years examined by the GAO) of the full GAO report.

    http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-635
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2010

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