|BOG Chancellor Marshall Criser, III and Retired FAMU Professor Willie Roberts|
A letter to the editor by Roberts on December 9 said that FAMU’s recent loss of control over the $12.9M budget for the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE) was harmful to the university. The Joint College of Engineering Governance Council that was created this year passed a resolution on May 20, 2015 to shift the COE fiscal agent duties from FAMU to FSU. FAMU had served as the fiscal agent since 1987.
Criser fired back with a rebuttal that criticized Roberts. He said that: “Mr. Roberts attempts to equate ‘fiscal agency’ with ‘budget control.’”
But the letter by Criser didn’t mention that FAMU did have control of the COE budget while it was the fiscal agent.
Former President Frederick S. Humphries came before the FAMU Board of Trustees on October 18 and said that FAMU controlled the COE budget after he struck a deal with FSU President Bernie Sliger in 1987. He said that the deal gave FAMU control of the budget in exchange for him agreeing to support Innovation Park as the building site for the COE. Humphries told the BOT that the deal was made final by the 1987 “Memorandum of Agreement.”
The new Joint College of Engineering Governance Council has now started making the decisions on the $12.9M core COE operating budget in the year 2015. It is formed in a way that could let FSU and the BOG chancellor simply vote together in order to make sure that FSU gets its way on all the big budget decisions because the BOG chancellor is the tie-breaking vote on the Joint College of Engineering Governance Council.
Criser’s letter in response to Roberts said that “administrative functions, not decision-making, transferred to FSU” in the May 20 vote to make FSU the new fiscal agent. That isn’t the same as the past 28 years when FAMU had control of the COE budget as part of its status as the fiscal agent.
FAMU President Elmira Mangum told FAMU trustees on October 18 that it was clear to her at the May 20 meeting that even if the entire FAMU delegation had voted to keep the fiscal agent duties at FAMU, the majority of the Joint Council members would have just out-voted them and made FSU the new fiscal agent anyway.
Criser letter doesn’t deny Roberts’ statement that Thrasher must approve joint appointment of COE dean
The May 20 vote also moved the vacant permanent deanship line for the COE to FAMU effective August 1. Criser’s letter on Sunday didn’t deny Roberts’ statement that Mangum can’t fill the deanship line until FSU President John Thrasher agrees to make a joint appointment.
The rule for appointing deans at the COE was set in the 1987 agreement. It says that the FAMU and FSU president must both give their approval for whoever is selected as the dean.
FAMU and FSU announced in a June press release that FSU Associate Provost Bruce Locke become the interim COE dean on August 1, which was the same day that the vacant line for the permanent dean moved to FAMU. That deanship line at FAMU will remain vacant until Thrasher grants his okay for a permanent dean to be jointly appointed.