Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Antics of FAMU communications “leadership” a continuous magnet for negative publicly

Public displays of unprofessionalism and questionable actions by the “leadership” of the Office of Communications are part of the weekly routine for the current FAMU administration. The latest round of embarrassments just adds to the list of reasons why its senior staff members shouldn’t be trusted.

Chief of Staff Jimmy Miller, who supervises the Office of Communications, bumbled through another set of letters to the FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT) last week. He told the BOT on March 14 that ex-Chief Financial Officer Dale Cassidy had been reassigned to work as the FAMU chief audit executive. But he then wrote the BOT members again to tell them that Vice-President for Audit and Compliance Rick Givens “will continue to serve as the university’s chief audit executive.” Miller also said some of Givens’ duties would shift to Cassidy but only gave a vague statement on that point.

This isn’t the first time Miller has handled communications with the BOT poorly. Back when he was the vice-president for external affairs his office released one version of a May 22, 2015 memo to the BOT and then gave the press another that was supposed to be the same but was different. He said it was all part of an unintentional error.

Assistant Vice President for the Office of Communications Elise Durham also recently ran into conflict with students, faculty, and alumni of the FAMU School of Journalism and Graphic Communication over her email that urged the faculty senate to exclude the media from its meetings.

Durham made a lame attempt to walk her statement back that got her nowhere.

The latest negative headlines that the Office of Communications has helped bring to FAMU are linked to the Student Government Association (SGA) elections. SGA president-elect Justin Bruno has filed a lawsuit against the Mangum administration’s decision to support a redo of the entire presidential election. He said President Elmira Mangum is going along with an effort “to manipulate the election on behalf of the (FAMU) administration and other administrators.”

The Tallahassee Democrat reported that: “Bruno said Mangum’s bottom line decision follows a pattern that became evident during the campaign. He alleges that Kyle Washington, student engagement coordinator within the Office of Communications, served as campaign manager for his opponents.”

Bruno told reporters he thinks Mangum wants his campaign opponent on the BOT because the two of them have a personal friendship that’s led her to believe he’ll help protect her job. 

The FAMU student leadership and Tallahassee media came to the aid of Mangum when the BOT tried to fire her in October. But her administration is now alienating those groups with the same type of disrespectful treatment and under-the-table antics that has cost it many other supporters.

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