Showing posts with label BOG. Show all posts
Showing posts with label BOG. Show all posts

Monday, May 18, 2015

Absence of FSU appropriation from new budget entity shows “transparency” talk isn’t sincere

When a politician with John Thrasher’s level of ruthlessness asks for a major legislative change with vague language, you can bet that he has a trick up his sleeve. This can now be seen in the “deal” on the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering.

Back on February 19, the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) approved a proposal to ask the legislature to create a new budget entity for the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering. The plan said that the new budget entity would “include all operating funds for the Joint College, including the appropriate amount of plant operation and maintenance funds.”

“The thing that I think President [Elmira 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, uh, frankly go back to making this a successful program for the students,” FSU President Thrasher told the BOG at that meeting.

Thrasher also told WCTV-6 that the BOG plan “creates a new opportunity for governance of the school as well as trying to isolate and put into a separate fund the resources that we get for the joint college.”

But despite what Thrasher said about “transparency” and putting “into a separate fund the resources that we get for the joint college,” millions of dollars that FSU receives for the College of Engineering are not in the new budget entity.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Law should directly state that FAMU, not Joint Council, will receive and manage engineering budget

FAMU received the annual appropriation for the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering’s core operations in its general revenue budget from 1987 until 2014. But that is changing this legislative session. The Florida House and Senate have both placed the program’s operating funds into a new budget entity entitled: “Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University and Florida State University College of Engineering from General Revenue Fund.”

Neither the House nor the Senate version of the General Appropriations Act explicitly says what institution will receive the appropriation on behalf of the College of Engineering. The legislature should place some clarifying language into the law that directly states an intent for FAMU to continue receiving and managing those funds.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

FAMU trustees need to seek answers about new budget entity for FAMU-FSU engineering

The FAMU Board of Trustees is scheduled to meet at 1:00 p.m. today. The only major item on the agenda is the election of officers. Before the board adjourns, it needs to ask some important questions about what is happening to the legislative appropriations for the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering.

Back on February 19, the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) voted to seek a "new budget entity" for the funds that the Florida Legislature designates for the college. It went ahead with that decision even though the FAMU Board of Trustees had not taken a vote to support any changes to the program.

On that day, FSU President John Thrasher told WCTV-6 that the BOG plan “creates a new opportunity for governance of the school as well as trying to isolate and put into a separate fund the resources that we get for the joint college.”

But despite what Thrasher said in February, the new budget entity does not have all of the operating funds that the College of Engineering received in 2014.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Fla. House, Senate approve new budget entity for FAMU-FSU College of Engineering

The Florida House of Representatives and Senate have agreed on the creation of a new budget entity for the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering. Title XIV, Chapter 216 of the Florida Statues states that a “budget entity” is “a unit or function at the lowest level to which funds are specifically appropriated in the appropriations act.”

The new budget entity for the college appears as item 138A under Section 2 of the General Appropriations Act in both chambers. It is entitled “Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University and Florida State University College of Engineering from General Revenue Fund.” The House proposes $12,999,761 but the Senate proposes slightly less with $12,997,476.

This changes the appropriations method of the past 28 years, when FAMU received the core operating funds for the College of Engineering as part of its general revenue budget. On February 19, the Florida Board of Governors voted to seek a new budget entity for the program when it approved a proposal entitled “Commitment to Guiding Principles and a Plan of Action for the FAMU-FSU Joint College of Engineering.” That plan received the support of both the FAMU and FSU presidents.  

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

“New budget entity” for College of Engineering a bad idea with Thrasher at FSU

The $10.9M operations budget for the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering could be permanently removed from FAMU’s general revenue appropriation this legislative session unless the university’s Board of Trustees acts to stop it from happening.

FAMU currently receives the annual $10.9M legislative appropriation that pays for the maintenance needs and plant operations of the College of Engineering in its general revenue funds. That money also pays the salaries of 23 FAMU professors and 27 Florida State University professors. FSU receives a separate appropriation of $5M in its general revenue budget that pays for another 36 professors. A report by the Capital News Service stated that the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) wants to change this so that “funding from lawmakers will go directly to the school instead of both universities.”

On Thursday, February 19, the BOG voted to approve a proposal entitled “Commitment to Guiding Principles and a Plan of Action for the FAMU-FSU Joint College of Engineering.” It states that: “The creation of a new budget entity for the Joint College will be pursued during the 2015 legislative session, to include all operating funds for the Joint College, including the appropriate amount of plant operation and maintenance funds.”

Friday, February 20, 2015

$10.9M engineering college appropriation in FAMU’s budget should be left alone

Despite an Associated Press article that reported an announcement by the chancellor of the State University System of Florida that “an agreement has been reached” on the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, the FAMU Board of Trustees has not voted to support any changes to the program. The FAMU trustees should not give their backing to the Board of Governors’ (BOG) plan to ask the Florida Legislature to create “a new budget entity” to receive the college’s operating funds.

On Thursday, February 19, the BOG voted to approve a proposal entitled “Commitment to Guiding Principles and a Plan of Action for the FAMU-FSU Joint College of Engineering.” It states that: “The creation of a new budget entity for the Joint College will be pursued during the 2015 legislative session, to include all operating funds for the Joint College, including the appropriate amount of plant operation and maintenance funds.”

Monday, December 01, 2014

USDOE civil rights office expresses concerns about possible FAMU-FSU engineering split

Catherine Lhamon, USDOE Asst. Sec. for Civil Rights
The Obama administration has officially informed the State of Florida about its reservations concerning the possible split of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering.

According to a preliminary report by CBT University Consulting, the firm hired to study the college for the Board of Governors (BOG), “[U.S. Department of Education] Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine Lhamon, in a letter to Governor Rick Scott dated April 25, 2014, expressed concern that separation of the Joint College was under consideration.”

Lhamon’s office is responsible for enforcing the consent decree that Florida entered into with the former Civil Rights Office of the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW). During the year 1973, the HEW civil rights office ordered Florida to either begin complying in honesty with Congressional laws that mandated the desegregation of higher education or lose $70M in federal money. If inflation is taken into account, that $70M from 1973 would be about $370M today.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Students protest as BOG votes to confirm John Thrasher as FSU president

Yesterday, about 50 Florida State University students gathered outside of the campus’ Westcott Building to protest as the Board of Governors (BOG) deliberated on whether to confirm state Sen. John Thrasher as the school’s next president.

“We are asking for an academic president, we are asking for someone that is qualified,” said Sydney Norris, one of the FSU students who participated in the demonstration.

Thrasher has no experience as a senior administrator at an institution of higher education. He is a lawyer who went to serve as speaker of the Florida House of Representatives and later a member of the Florida Senate.

The BOG unanimously voted to confirm Thrasher’s appointment at its Wednesday meeting at Florida Atlantic University. It also confirmed Kent Fuchs to serve as the president of the University of Florida.

Back during this year’s legislative session, Thrasher led an unsuccessful effort to split the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering and give FSU $13M to begin the process of creating a separate college. He declined to offer FAMU the $5M in new recurring dollars that would be necessary to replace all of the FSU faculty who would leave or the $100M that would be required to build a new engineering school building on FAMU’s main campus.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

FAMU-FSU College of Engineering receives another big investment as BOG studies possible split

The FAMU-FSU College of Engineering continues to receive large financial investments from the state even as the Board of Governors (BOG) continues a $500,000 study into possibly splitting the program.

The 2014-2015 budget passed by the Florida Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott included $10M to expand the facilities of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering. The money will help the program start construction on a brand new “Building C.”

Now, the State of Florida has another big taxpayer-funded investment in the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering. Yesterday, the BOG held a press conference to celebrate its decision to award a $3M grant to FAMU and FSU that the joint E-College will play a key role in administering. The funds, which come from a $15M legislative appropriation for collaborative university projects, will pay for a program called “Expanding North Florida’s IT Career Pathways.”

Monday, June 23, 2014

BOG has no standing to lecture state universities about shady executive searches

BOG Chairman Mori Hosseini with fellow board members
The FAMU presidential search process was bad, but the one at Florida State University has been plain ugly.

At least the individuals who attempted to ruin the search for FAMU’s 11th president had enough shame to pretend like they weren’t trying to do so. FSU’s presidential search committee seemed ready to simply fast track state Sen. John E. Thrasher into the job before faculty and student protests and negative editorials pressured it to back down.

Now, members of the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) are using the FSU controversy and embarrassing showdown over FAMU President Elmira Mangum’s contract as excuses to help them claim more control over future presidential search processes at public universities. BOG Chairman Mori Hosseini says there should be more BOG members on presidential selection committees.

Shady searches for top executives have become a serious problem in the State University System of Florida (SUS). And the BOG’s two most recent chancellorship searches offer some of the best examples.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

BOG study set to become another battleground in fight to defend FAMU’s engineering programs

The fight to defend FAMU’s current engineering programs is just beginning.

On Sunday, the Florida Legislature put the brakes on a proposal to break up the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering. The Senate and House reached a deal to appropriate $500,000 for the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) to study the issue first. That’s up from an original proposal for a $150,000 study.

According to the budget language, the BOG is to produce "an academic feasibility analysis" that will consider "options relating to separation of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering with the goal of achieving world class engineering education opportunities for students in both universities."

But the rest of directive makes it clear that FAMU must prepare to defend itself against possible recommendations for the reduction of the university’s current engineering programs.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Fla. House speaker wants BOG review before engineering college split is considered

State Sen. John E. Thrasher’s effort to break up the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering might die in the Florida Legislature’s budget conference negotiations.

According to the Associated Press, Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, “said he wants the Florida Board of Governors to weigh in on the proposal before taking any action.”

He told the Tampa Bay Times that: "I would say that both (Florida State University) and (Florida A&M University) have very good points to be made. I would also say that the Board of Governors has a role to play in this conversation. I don’t think the Florida House is in a rush to do anything."

Weatherford’s announcement comes one day after the Tampa Bay Times published an editorial that said any proposed split should be vetted by “the Board of Governors, trustees from both universities, students and the public.”

Friday, February 21, 2014

BOG “confirms” Mangum’s appointment

Yesterday afternoon, the Florida Board of Governors voted to approve Elmira Mangum’s appointment as the 11th president of FAMU.

The BOG’s policy of “confirming” the presidential selections of public university boards of trustees has a controversial past. Back in 2009, state Sen. Don Gaetz (R-Niceville) introduced a bill that clarified the fact that only university trustees had power to appoint and supervise the chief executives of their respective schools. It was widely seen as a rebuff of the BOG’s attempt to gain more control over presidential hiring and evaluation decisions.

Gaetz’s bill passed in both the Florida Senate and House of Representatives. It had the support of FAMU advocates such as then-Sen. Al Lawson. Gov. Charlie Crist signed it into law on June 23, 2009.

But the Florida Legislature did a large-scale rewrite of the state’s higher education laws during the 2010 session and declined to keep the rule in place. The BOG then reintroduced the presidential “confirmation” policy.

A press release from the BOG stated that Mangum offered a number of compliments to the State University System of Florida’s leadership after the favorable confirmation vote. She is scheduled to begin work at FAMU on April 1, 2014.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

BOG’s poor audit results prove it lacks competence to assess FAMU’s audit division

BOG Vice-Chairman Morteza Hosseini (center)
BOG Chairman Dean Colson (left)
Yesterday, the Tallahassee Democrat published an article about the Florida Board of Governor’s praise for a corrective action plan submitted by FAMU Interim President Larry Robinson. The document responded to a 2012 review by former BOG Inspector General Derry Harper. Harper directed heavy criticism against FAMU’s Division of Audit and Compliance (DAC).

The article stated: “The tenor of Thursday’s meeting was markedly different from June 2012, when James H. Ammons was FAMU president and Robinson served as provost. At that meeting, FAMU’s annual work plan was essentially deemed unacceptable by BOG members.”

But once again, the Tallahassee Democrat declined to inform its readers about a 2013 state audit that essentially found the state of the BOG inspector general’s office to be unacceptable.

David W. Martin, the Florida auditor general, scolded the BOG for “noncompliance with statutory requirements” in a quality assessment review of its inspector general’s office. He declared the office to be out-of-compliance with Florida law for its failure to issue any audit reports for more than four years. Another serious finding blasted the BOG for failing to provide verification that Harper had the educational qualifications required by Florida law.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Scott extends another pre-election olive branch to UF with chancellor pick

Back when Frank Brogan was the chancellor for Florida’s public universities, Rick Scott ran over him like a second-hand doormat. Brogan’s bosses on the Board of Governors, who were just as scared of Scott as he was, joined him in sitting down and shutting up as Scott effectively became the real chancellor of the State University System of Florida (SUS).

Even though it took a little time, the BOG has finally accepted its place under the governor’s thumb.

Earlier this year, Brogan decided to hold on to a few pieces of his dignity by getting the hell out of dodge. He took a $29,500 pay cut to leave Florida and escape to Pennsylvania, where he is now the new public university CEO. But the headlines from last week are full of signs that Scott is still calling the shots at the BOG offices and extending another pre-election olive branch to the University of Florida.

The search committee for the new chancellor unanimously voted to offer the name of Marshall Criser, III, president of AT&T Florida, as its one and only recommendation for Brogan’s replacement.  

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Florida reporters continue to give BOG a pass on accountability

Note: This story is part three of the Rattler Nation special report on “The Implosion of Brogan’s IG Office.”

Back when Derry Harper, former inspector general for the Florida Board of Governors (BOG), released a report that criticized FAMU for permitting ineligible students to march with its band, reporters across the state jumped to put it in the news.

Associated Press reporter Gary Fineout typed up a story that ran with the headline: “Hazing rules ignored before death at FAMU.” The Orlando Sentinel wrote “State report blasts FAMU’s effort to fight hazing before Champion’s death.” The Tallahassee Democrat published an article that said “BOG report is critical of FAMU.”

But Fineout, the Sentinel, and the Democrat haven’t made a peep about the Florida auditor general’s finding that the BOG failed to verify that Harper had the legally required eligibility qualifications for his own job.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Auditor general: BOG’s IG didn’t issue any audit reports for more than 4 years

NOTE: This is part two of the Rattler Nation special report on “The Implosion of Brogan’s IG office.”

State auditors declared the Board of Governors’ (BOG) inspector general’s office to be out-of-compliance with Florida law for its failure to issue any audit reports for more than four years.

“Contrary to the requirements of Section 20.055(5), Florida Statutes, the Office of Inspector General had not issued any audit reports since the Office’s inception in 2007 until the Office issued its audit report on the Board’s ethics climate in August 2012,” Florida Auditor General David W. Martin wrote in a quality assessment review of the BOG inspector general’s office.

Martin explained: “Section 20.055(5), Florida Statutes, requires that the Inspector General conduct financial, compliance, electronic data processing, and performance audits and prepare audit reports of the findings.”

Derry Harper became the first BOG inspector general back in 2007. Frank Brogan decided to retain him when he became chancellor in 2009. Harper resigned shortly after state auditors said the BOG had failed to provide verification that he had the educational qualifications required by Florida law.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Harper resigns after state auditors demand proof of his legal eligiblity for his own job

Former BOG Inspector General Derry Harper
Note: This story is part one of the Rattler Nation special report on “The Implosion of Brogan’s IG Office.” 

Derry Harper, the public university inspector general who slammed FAMU for failing to consistently verify the eligibility of its band members, abruptly resigned after state auditors demanded proof that he was legally eligible to hold his own job.

David W. Martin, the Florida auditor general, scolded the Board of Governors (BOG) for “noncompliance with statutory requirements” in a quality assessment review of its inspector general’s office. As part of that finding, he said the BOG failed to provide verification that Harper had the educational qualifications required by Florida law.

“Our review disclosed that, while the Inspector General had substantial experience working in the role of an Inspector General, Board records did not contain evidence to demonstrate that the educational background of the incumbent Inspector General met the requirements of Section 20.055(4), Florida Statutes,” Martin wrote.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

RN Special Report: The Implosion of Brogan’s IG Office

The Office of the Inspector General at the State University System of Florida (SUS) recently underwent a major shakeup following state audit findings that uncovered the mess that now ex-Chancellor Frank Brogan made there. But you won’t see this story amid the puff pieces that Florida’s newspapers published about Brogan’s exit. You’ll only read it here on Rattler Nation.
                                                         
Join us this week for a look into the issues of legal noncompliance within the SUS central office that preceded the departures of Brogan and his inspector general, Derry Harper.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Brogan leaves Florida after being run over by Scott

Gov. Rick Scott has already made it clear that he, and not Frank Brogan, is really calling the shots in the State University System of Florida (SUS). Brogan never showed any backbone against the governor. But it now looks like he has finally had enough of being pushed around and is saying goodbye.

Brogan will become the new chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) on October 1st.

When he became governor in 2011, Scott began running over Brogan in order to take control of the SUS.