Wednesday, January 18, 2017

2015: Thrasher praises Mangum’s support of changes that lead FAMU to lose budget control at COE

Back at a Florida Board of Governors (BOG) meeting on February 19, 2015, FSU President John Thrasher praised then-FAMU President Elmira Mangum for supporting a plan with changes that helped him put an end to 28 years of FAMU budget control at the joint College of Engineering (COE).

He made the comments as Mangum sat in the chair next to him.

Thrasher told the BOG: “The thing that I think President Mangum and I have both agreed on and certainly with your staff is this, this, these changes, these changes that we’re talking about, the organizational changes, the transparency, the accountability, which are all in here, which you all, every one of you I know believe in, frankly go back to making this a successful program for the students.”

Mangum then gave her backing to a proposal to shift the $12.9M COE appropriation from the FAMU general revenue line to a new budget entity. She also joined Thrasher in stating that a new Joint College of Engineering Governance Council would call the shots on the COE operating budget. That made it possible for the FSU representatives and BOG Chancellor Marshall Criser, III to out-vote FAMU on budget decisions.

Mangum went along with those changes even though the FAMU BOT didn’t vote to approve them.

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 took her to task on that claim. He understood that former state Sen. Carrie Meek and his brother Al Lawson then, then a state representative, made sure that FAMU got control of the budget in 1987 by working together to move the annual appropriation for the COE into the FAMU general revenue line that year. 20 years later Lawson led the way in stopping a 2007 legislative plan to move the COE budget control from FAMU to FSU.

Former FAMU President Frederick S. Humphries also came before the BOT in October 2015 and said that FAMU did control 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.”

Mangum’s assistance was key in Thrasher’s success in ending FAMU budget control at the COE and he wasn’t shy when it came to speaking about his appreciation for her help. 

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