Tuesday, February 21, 2017

FSU got secret $2M on behalf of FAMU-FSU COE, Mangum’s name wasn’t on request form

A report by the Naples Daily News shows that FSU President John Thrasher got his university a secret $2M appropriation on behalf of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE). But then-FAMU President Elmira Mangum’s name wasn’t on the request form he submitted to the Florida Legislature.

“The College of Engineering shared by FSU and Florida A&M University also received $2 million in a one-time secret appropriation that lists Thrasher as the requester on a form also dated Dec. 4, 2015, with [FSU lobbyist Kathleen Daly] identified as the contact, records show. FAMU President Elmira Mangum’s name was not included on the form,” the newspaper reported.

The December 4, 2015 request by Thrasher came less than five months after FAMU lost budget authority for the COE. July 1, 2015 was the date that the Chief Financial Officer of Florida began sending the multi-million dollar appropriated budget for the engineering college to FSU instead of FAMU. FAMU had previously gotten the funds in its general revenue line for 28 years.

Earlier that year, Mangum 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 Board of Governors Chancellor Marshall Criser, III to out-vote FAMU on budget decisions.

Mangum went along with those changes even though the FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT) didn’t vote to approve them.

At a July 21, 2015 BOT meeting, Mangum showed that she didn’t understand that FAMU had been in charge of those operating dollars for 28 years.

The Naples Daily News article didn’t specify whether FSU received the secret $2M appropriation it requested on behalf of the COE through the $13.4M in the FAMU-FSU COE budget entity or as part of the separate appropriation of at least $7M that it receives for the COE in its general revenue line.

Since the Naples Daily News article was published on Friday, the FAMU alumni lawmakers who served in 2015 and 2016 haven’t publicly commented in the news media about the secret $2M that went to FSU on behalf of the FAMU-FSU COE. Those individuals are: former Rep. Alan Williams, former Sen. Arthenia L. Joyner, former Sen. Dwight Bullard, former Rep. Mia Jones, Rep. Shevrin Jones, and former Rep. Bobby Powell (who is now a state senator).

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