Wednesday, July 01, 2015

FAMU loses budget authority for College of Engineering after 28 years

Today is the first in 28 years that FAMU won’t be the fiscal agent/budget manager for the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE).

July 1st is the official beginning of the new fiscal year and the Chief Financial Officer of Florida will begin sending the $12,996,539 appropriated budget for the engineering college to FSU instead of FAMU.

The Florida Legislature originally placed that money in the FAMU general revenue line item at the beginning of the 2015 session as it has for nearly 30 years. But on February 19, FAMU President Elmira Mangum gave her support to a Florida Board of Governors proposal that asked the legislature to create a new budget entity for the COE. The Florida House of Representatives and Senate both shifted the $12,996,539 operating budget for the COE from the FAMU general revenue line item to a new budget entity entitled “FAMU/FSU College of Engineering” in March.

On June 3 of this year, current FSU President John Thrasher told his Board of Trustees that FSU will be the new fiscal agent for the COE. The statement came despite the fact that the FAMU Board of Trustees did not take a vote to approve any changes to the current university policy stating that FAMU wants to serve as the fiscal agent/budget manager of the COE.

At another FSU board meeting on June 26, Thrasher said that FAMU agreed to transfer its fiscal agent status for the College of Engineering to FSU. He did not specify who had agreed to that policy change on behalf of FAMU.

Back in 1987, FAMU President Frederick S. Humphries and FSU President Bernie Sliger signed an agreement that said that FAMU would permanently manage the operations budget for the College of Engineering.

That agreement appears to have been quietly undone behind-the-scenes. According to a joint statement from FAMU and FSU released on June 1, 2015, current COE Dean Yaw Yeboah will step down on July 31 and “the tenure home for the next dean will rotate to FAMU.” Thrasher’s announcement that FSU would be new fiscal agent for the COE came two days later.

Last year, FAMU managed a $10.4 million operating budget for the COE and FSU received a separate engineering appropriation that was a total $5 million. But now that FSU is the new fiscal agent, it will manage at least $17.9 million for the college (the $12.9 million operating budget plus its separate FSU budget) and FAMU will manage $0.

You might also be interested in: Trading College of Engineering budget for deanship would be bad for FAMU.
 
Correction: An earlier version of this post included an incorrect description of the process that the 1987 agreement stated would be used to select the dean. That agreement said that: “The presidents shall appoint the dean on the advice of the Joint Management Council based on the recommendations of a faculty search committee composed of an equal number of faculty members from the two universities.”

 Note: This post contains corrections made on October 19, 2015.

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