Monday, August 10, 2015

FAMU trustees reaffirm confidence in Rufus, continue questioning Mangum’s leadership

Rufus reelected chair, Lawson reelected vice-chair

On July 30, Rattler Nation reported that Rufus Montgomery was on his way to an easy reelection as chairman of the FAMU Board of Trustees and that Cleve Warren was unlikely to run against him again.

Sure enough, the FAMU Board of Trustees unanimously reelected Rufus on August 6. Warren didn’t come to the meeting or even bother to participate over the phone.

The members of the board also reelected Kelvin Lawson to the vice-chairmanship. Belinda Shannon nominated Kimberly Moore for the job, but Moore declined to vote for herself and supported Lawson. Shannon cast the only vote for Moore.

Back on April 8, Rufus won the race to serve out the remainder of the term of former Chairman Chuck Badger. Badger left the Board of Trustees on March 27, 2015 when Gov. Rick Scott replaced him with new Trustee Robert Woody. Badger had been a supporter of FAMU President Elmira Mangum.

The election of Rufus, Mangum’s biggest critic, showed that the tide was changing on the Board of Trustees. Torey Alston, Lucas Boyce, Bettye Grable, Tonnette Graham, Lawson, Spurgeon McWilliams, Moore, and Woody all voted for him.

Mangum supporters Marjorie Turnbull, Shannon, and Karl White gave their support to losing candidate Warren. Turnbull later left the board.

Lawson was also originally elected to the vice-chairmanship at that meeting.

Former Warren supporters given the boot from BOT leadership offices

Rufus doesn’t appear to have forgiven the three remaining trustees who voted for Warren on April 8. Right after his reelection to the chairmanship on August 6, Rufus removed all the trustees who didn’t support him in April from their leadership offices on the Board of Trustees.

Rufus appointed Kimberly Moore to replace Karl White as chair of the Audit and Compliance Committee and appointed Robert Woody to replace Belinda Shannon as chair of the Direct Support Organization Committee. He also appointed Woody to replace Cleve Warren as the Board of Trustees representative to the FAMU Foundation.

Those changes were the only ones that Rufus made to the Board of Trustees leadership offices. He let all the trustees who voted for him on April 8 keep their current offices.

Continuing questions about Mangum’s leadership

That shake-up was not the only bad news for Mangum at the Board of Trustees meeting last week. The board continued to question her leadership by declining her request to immediately approve the revised version of her 2015/2016 Work Plan for the Florida Board of Governors. Last month the Tallahassee Democrat reported that “[Montgomery] said he’d had a conversation with the chairman of the Board of Governors who said he was surprised trustees hadn’t expressed more concern over a university Work Plan that Mangum had presented recently to the board.”

The Board of Trustees also voted to seek an outside public relations firm to help FAMU without even bothering to ask Mangum if she thought that was needed. That suggests that the trustees are not fully confident that the new leadership Mangum hired for the Office of Communications is up to the task.

FAMU trustees will discuss those two issues during a special conference call on August 17.   

1 comment:

E. D. Jordan said...

It is shameful that Rufus Montgomery would relieve members of the board from their positions of office mainly because they did not vote for
him. Were they not efficiently doing their jobs? Or, was this just another vindictive act by the chairman?
These are very sad days for my Alma Mater! I am truly ashamed that the chair seems to have a vendetta against the FAMU president and the members who support her. NO one is always
on task; even those supported by HIS governor! Be your own person, Mr. Chairman!!!