Sunday, August 28, 2016

Magnum, Thrasher have become quite a team

FAMU President Elmira Mangum helped FSU President John Thrasher put an end to the 28 years of FAMU budget control of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE) in 2015. She did that despite the existing legislative budget language that favored FAMU and the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) study that said nothing about shifting the money from the university. 

Last year, with Mangum's approval, the legislature moved the $12.9M for the COE from the FAMU line to a new budget entity called “FAMU/FSU College of Engineering.”  

Following the transfer, a new Joint College of Engineering Governance Council was created and it started calling the shots on the operating budget. This has made it possible for the FSU representatives and BOG Chancellor Marshall Criser, III to now out vote FAMU on budget decisions.

At a July 21, 2015 FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT) committee meeting, Mangum tried to downplay the seriousness of the loss of the $12.9M COE budget by claiming that FAMU didn’t have control over that money during the years that those operating dollars were at the university. But Trustee Kelvin Lawson disagreed because he actually understands what happened. He said that FAMU had the “responsibility for managing the budget” in the past. He added that the management responsibility wasn’t limited to executing “joint decisions.”

“I think it’s also important to have the perspective to have that there’s a lot more involved in the responsibility of the fiscal agent other than just managing the money and making joint decisions, because if it wasn’t so important, why would year after year after year, various leaders make an attempt to move the responsibility from its original home?”  Lawson said.

“I would like to see us make an active pitch to regain budget authority for the College of Engineering,” Lawson said at the meeting.

“I would ask that the administration take that as a ‘To Do’ moving forward,” he added.

Mangum hasn’t reported any progress in addressing the COE budget shift problem since that time.

Lawson isn’t letting the issue go. He raised the COE budget shift in Mangum’s 2015-2016 evaluation.

“The decision on the Joint Engineering School was a major decision that had no Board engagement; this discussion will have fall-out for years to come,” he wrote.

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