Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Mangum says Criser, FSU would have outvoted FAMU on COE fiscal agent decision

At the October 18 meeting of the FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT), President Elmira Mangum shared a set of details that she hadn’t previously told the board about the shift of the fiscal agent duties for the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE).

The Joint College of Engineering Governance Council voted on May 20 to move the $12.9M COE core operating budget from FAMU to FSU.

Mangum said that it was clear to her at that meeting that even if the entire FAMU delegation had voted to keep the budget at FAMU, the majority of the council members would have just outvoted them and moved the budget to FSU anyway.

Mangum claimed that getting the agreement to have the deanship line rotated to FAMU was the best that she could do. The vacant deanship line at FAMU can't be filled until Mangum and FSU President John Thrasher come to an agreement on a joint appointment decision.

“The Joint Council wanted to take the budget away, as part of our negotiations and discussions, because we had control of the budget for 32 years, we agreed to rotate,” Mangum said at the October 18 BOT meeting. “We had two choices: We could have agreed to rotate, or the budget was going to get moved, because we have 4 out of 9 votes.”

FAMU and FSU each has four voting members on the council. Board of Governors Chancellor Marshall Criser, III has the tie-breaking vote. The five votes of Criser and the FSU members were enough to win against FAMU on the fiscal agent decision. 

FAMU was in charge of the COE budget for 28 years. But the new Joint College of Engineering Governance Council has now started to claim that it is in charge of the $12.9M budget.

A letter by Criser that ran in the Tallahassee Democrat on Sunday said “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.

Mangum didn’t explain why she went along with the claim that the Joint College of Engineering Governance Council is supposed to be calling the shots about what happens with the $12.9M COE budget when the General Appropriations Act doesn’t include any statement that says that.

The Florida Senate originally placed some language that the BOG proposed about the council in its version of the bill, but that language was not part of the final bill that Gov. Rick Scott signed into law because the House of Representatives asked for those paragraphs to be removed. 

State Rep. Alan Williams, who is a member of the Appropriations Committee in the Florida House, was present at the October 18 BOT meeting when Mangum made the comments about the council vote. But he still hasn’t made any public statement about the fact that there isn’t any language in the General Appropriations Act that says the the Joint College of Engineering Governance Council is in charge of the $12.9M budget for the COE.

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