Friday, June 26, 2015

Thrasher: FSU will be the new fiscal agent for FAMU-FSU College of Engineering

UPDATE (2:45 p.m.): Today, Florida State University President John Thrasher told his Board of Trustees that FAMU agreed to transfer its fiscal agent status for the College of Engineering to FSU.

“Not that Florida A&M was not doing a good job, but FAMU has agreed that we should be the fiscal agent of the college. That will begin July 1,” Thrasher said.

Draft minutes from a FSU board conference call on June 3 show that Thrasher announced that FSU would be the new fiscal agent for the FAMU-FSU Board of Trustees during that meeting. But the FAMU Board of Trustees did not take a vote to hand the fiscal agent designation over to FSU before Thrasher made those comments on June 3.

The FSU trustees unanimously approved the draft minutes from the June 3 conference call during their meeting today.

ORIGINAL STORY: According to the draft minutes from a Florida State University (FSU) Board of Trustees conference call on June 3, President John Thrasher said that FSU will be the new fiscal agent for the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE). FAMU has served as the fiscal agent/budget manager since 1987.

The statement by Thrasher came two days after a joint press release from FAMU and FSU announced that COE Dean Yaw Yeboah would step down on July 31. The June 1 release added that “the tenure home for the next dean will rotate to Florida A&M University.” FSU had served as the tenure home of all the deans since 1987.

If these changes are implemented, they will place FSU in charge of 100 percent of the money that the Florida Legislature appropriates to the College of Engineering. FSU would receive the $12,996,539 in the new budget entity for the COE and continue receiving a separate multi-million dollar appropriation for the COE in the FSU general revenue budget. The separate FSU budget was about $5,000,000 in 2014.

FAMU began serving as the fiscal agent/budget manager of the COE in 1987 and received the operating funds in its general revenue line item through 2014. 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.

The FAMU Board of Trustees did not take a vote to approve any changes to the 1987 agreement that designated FAMU as the fiscal agent/budget manager for the College of Engineering before Thrasher’s announcement on June 3. But it may be too late for the FAMU board to do anything to stop what is happening. The fiscal year for the State of Florida ends on June 30 and the Chief Financial Officer will start sending the funds from all budget entities to their recipients on the next day.

The FSU Board of Trustees is set to vote on whether to approve the draft minutes from the June 3 conference call during its campus meeting today at 1:00 p.m.

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