Showing posts with label Trustees. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Trustees. Show all posts

Monday, April 11, 2016

Washington defends $58,400 cost of external audit

Whether FAMU got its money’s worth from the external audit done by Grant Thornton LLP depends on who you ask.

Last week the chair of the FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT) Audit & Compliance Committee, Nicole Washington, defended the $58,400 cost of the audit. According to POLITICO Florida, Washington “said that she was comfortable with the cost of the audit and that university staff followed procurement procedures.”

“This process allowed the selection committee to compare costs, among other criteria, when evaluating the proposals,” she said in a statement to POLITICO Florida. “Grant Thornton LLP scored higher on the evaluation, based on the quality of their proposal and the interview. Also, the Grant Thornton LLP quote was less expensive. Based on this information, I do not see the cost as unusual.”

Friday, April 08, 2016

Still no answers for why report summary findings didn’t mention $11,519 door project

FAMU still hasn’t provided answers about why the report summary findings for the independent audit done by Grant Thornton LLP doesn’t mention the $11,519 door project at the on-campus President’s House.

At an emergency Board of Trustees (BOT) conference call on October 22, then-FAMU General Counsel Avery McKnight said the new front door was among four projects above $10,000 that each took place at the President’s House after the start date of President Elmira Mangum’s contract. He said they weren't presented to the BOT for its approval as required by her contract.

The front door project cost $11,519 and had an invoice date of September 23, 2014. The start date for Mangum’s contract was April 1, 2014.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

State auditors report that FSCJ “overpaid Florida Retirement System contributions”

The 2016 state operational audit for Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ) by the Florida auditor general reported problems with the payment process the college used for a set of contributions to the Florida Retirement System (FRS).

The finding stated that: “Contrary to Department of Management Services rule and the College’s operating procedures, the College overpaid Florida Retirement System contributions by $12,287 for benefit day payments, totaling $90,994, made to three employees upon their separation from College employment.”

Cleve Warren has served as the financial officer of FSCJ since June 17, 2013. He is also the current chairman of the Florida A&M University Board of Trustees.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Report findings don’t match Warren’s 2015 explanation for President’s House renovations

Back in October, FAMU Trustee Cleve Warren said he didn’t think the capital improvements that had taken place at the on-campus President’s House after the start date of President Elmira Mangum’s contract were ones that required approval by the Board of Trustees (BOT). But an independent report by Grant Thornton LLP said that a $71,529 garage project that began in June 2014 should have been presented to the BOT for a vote before it was started.

The BOT scheduled an emergency meeting to discuss the garage and other renovations at President’s House on October 22, 2015. Joe Bakker, who had retired as the interim chief financial officer (CFO), wrote then-CFO Dale Cassidy a letter about the issue two days before that meeting. Bakker said the garage didn’t need BOT approval because it was paid out of Minor Projects Fund dollars.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Questions remain about who proposed garage project at FAMU President’s House

FAMU released the results of an independent report on the controversial addition of a garage to the on-campus President’s House on Saturday. But questions still remain about who proposed the $71,529 project.

An independent report by Grant Thornton, LLP report states that:  “The results of a walkthrough meeting in March 2014 between the University’s Interim VP of Administration and Financial Services and the BOT Facilities Planning Chairman was not formally documented. At that walkthrough meeting, the BOT member recommended that a garage be added to the University owned residence. This meeting was subsequently documented by the University’s Director of Physical Plant in October 2015; however, no formal BOT approval of this project was documented.”

Kendall D. Jones, the FAMU Director of Plant Operations & Maintenance, said in an October 28, 2015 memo that Board of Trustees (BOT) that Facilities Planning Chairman Spurgeon McWilliams participated in the walkthrough on March 13, 2014. But Jones stated that then-BOT Chairman Chuck Badger was the one who proposed a new garage.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Grant Thornton report at odds with Mangum’s claim that BOT “authorized the garage project”

Grant Thornton LLP has released its findings on a $71,529 garage project at the on-campus FAMU President’s House that nearly led to the firing of President Elmira Mangum in October.

The employment agreement between Mangum and the Board of Trustees (BOT) states that: “Dr. Mangum shall obtain prior approval from the Board (or its designee) for any capital improvements or repairs to the home or its grounds which have a project cost over $10,000.” The purchase order for the garage project was made on June 19, 2014, which was after the April 1, 2014 start date of Mangum’s contract.

Mangum sent a memo to the BOT on October 21, 2015 that said that: “I did not have any knowledge nor did I authorize or sign off on the construction of the garage. Upon further inquiry, it was discovered that the Board of Trustees authorized the garage project.”

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

FAMU BOT narrowly approves Mangum’s request to appeal court ruling on SGA elections

Former Judge Belvin Perry, Jr. votes "no," says trustees weren't given enough information to make a good decision

Yesterday, the FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT) narrowly approved a request by President Elmira Mangum to appeal a circuit court injunction against a full redo of the Student Government Association presidential (SGA) election. The motion passed with a 7-5 vote.

The “yea” votes were: Chairman Cleve Warren, Vice-Chairman Kelvin Lawson, Tommy Dortch, David Lawrence, Craig Reid, Nicole Washington, and Robert Woody.

The “no” votes were: Matt Carter, Faculty Senate President Bettye Grable, SGA President Tonnette Graham, Kimberly Moore, and Belvin Perry.

Monday, March 28, 2016

State audit finds problems with “untimely bank account reconciliations” at FSCJ

Florida Auditor General Sherrill F. Norman released her operational audit of Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ) on March 11. A finding in that report stated that “the College did not always timely complete bank account reconciliations.”

Cleve Warren, the chairman of the Florida A&M University Board of Trustees, is the chief financial officer (CFO) of FSCJ. He has served as the CFO of the college since June 17, 2013 and earns $150,000 per year.  

According to the CFO job description at the college’s website: “The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) provides executive leadership and guidance for all financial aspects of the College… The CFO is also responsible for ensuring that the College financial reports are accurate and completed on time.”

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Belvin Perry, Jr. appointed to FAMU Board of Trustees

Today, Gov. Rick Scott announced the appointment of Belvin Perry Jr. to the Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University Board of Trustees.

Perry, 66, of Orlando, is an attorney with Morgan and Morgan PA. He currently serves as a member of the Florida A&M University College of Law Board of Visitors and the 100 Black Men of Orlando Inc.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Graham blasts FAMU administrators for nearly causing university to lose $2.3M

At the Thursday meeting of the FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT), Student Body President Tonnette S. Graham criticized administration officials for nearly causing the university to lose its ability to spend $2.3M in student fees.

“Why did we almost lose $2.3M in CITF funds last month?” she asked during the BOT discussion of facilities.

The Capital Improvement Trust Fund (CITF) comes from student fees under Florida Statutes 1009.24. It states that: “An increase in the fee may occur only once each fiscal year and must be implemented beginning with the fall term. The Board of Governors shall adopt regulations and timetables to implement the fee.”

CITF money is used for campus facilities projects.

Monday, March 07, 2016

Joyner recommended confirming Carter after he publicly mocked FAMU alumni lawmakers

Florida Senate Minority Leader Arthenia Joyner voted to recommend the confirmation of Matt Carter to the FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT) last month despite his previous decision to publicly mock the FAMU alumni in the state legislature.

At the February 8, 2016 meeting of the Florida Senate Higher Education Committee, Joyner personally asked that Carter receive a favorable recommendation for confirmation.

“I’d like to move for confirmation of Mr. Carter,” she said.

The committee then unanimously approved Joyner’s motion. Carter, an appointee of Gov. Rick Scott, was later confirmed by the full Florida Senate for a term that ends on January 6, 2018.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

2007: Lawson succeeds in blocking Lowe’s reappointment to FAMU Board of Trustees

Back when Florida A&M University alumnus Alfred “Al” Lawson was in the Florida Senate he didn’t just talk about holding FAMU trustees responsible for their actions. He did it.

In 2007, Lawson rallied members of the majority Republican state Senate to block the reappointment of Challis Lowe, the chairwoman of the FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT).

Lowe was one of the biggest supporters of former Interim President Castell Bryant, defending her even as her administration received the first and only qualified state audits in the history of FAMU.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Joyner recommended confirming Woody despite his attempt to fire Mangum

Robert Woody has been one of the biggest opponents of FAMU President Elmira Mangum ever since Gov. Rick Scott appointed him to the Board of Trustees (BOT) on March 27, 2015. He gave Mangum a “Does Not Meet Expectations” rating for every question in his individual evaluation of her in July and then moved to terminate her contract “without cause” and with “no confidence” on October 22, 2015. The motion narrowly failed with a 6-6 vote.

A Capital News Service story on October 29 reported that Florida Senate Minority Leader Arthenia Joyner, a FAMU alumna, wanted all the trustees who tried to get rid of Mangum on that day to leave the board.

“State Senator Arthenia Joyner is now calling on the trustees who voted to oust Mangum to themselves step down,” the report said.

But Joyner changed course in December and said that she supported Woody staying on the FAMU BOT.

Friday, February 12, 2016

FAMU to receive outside review report on President’s House garage, bonuses on Feb. 16

On Tuesday of next week, Florida A&M University will receive a report from the firm hired to conduct an independent review of controversial capital improvements at the on-campus President’s House and bonuses that were awarded to members of President Elmira Mangum’s staff. 

FAMU Vice-President for Audit and Compliance Rick Givens told university trustees on Wednesday that Grant Thornton LLP was selected for the job and will submit its written conclusions on Feb. 16.

The FAMU internal auditor normally carries out such investigations. But the FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT) voted to have an outside company do the review after Givens reported “potential interference with the work of Audit & Compliance” in an Oct. 21 email to then-Chairman Rufus Montgomery.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Gamble hiring leads to more FAMU trustee questions about non-advertised positions

On Wednesday, FAMU trustees raised more questions about jobs that are filled without advertisement after receiving an update on the review of the hiring process that led to Santoras “Dee” Gamble’s employment.

Gamble pleaded guilty to the felony charge of Conspiracy to Defraud the United States in 2010 and received three years of probation. He was also required to pay a restitution amount of more than $122,000. Last year, FAMU Vice-President for Communications and External Relations Jimmy Miller hired Gamble to a $75,000 “special assistant” job.

The inspector general of the Florida Board of Governors asked the university in a September 9 email: “Has there been any review of this matter to confirm that FAMU followed the background and hiring process in hiring Gamble? If so, what was the result?”

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Better late than never; Mangum’s staff completes Trustee Directory updates

On Monday, the administration of President Elmira Mangum finally finished updating the Board of Trustees (BOT) directory on

The Florida Board of Governors made 20 appointments to public university boards on January 21, including the selection of Thomas Dortch Jr. and Craig Reed for the FAMU BOT. At the University of Florida, the BOT webpage was updated promptly to include its new trustee. But the Trustee Directory was incomplete for weeks.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Decline in FAMU advocacy among numerous questionable decisions by Florida Black Caucus

The Florida Legislative Black Caucus (FLBC) was once one of the most consistent sources of advocacy that Florida A&M University had. But over the past year, the group has simply ignored a number of attacks against the university.

In 2015, FAMU lost control of a multi-million dollar college budget after 28 years and saw its alumni become a minority in the 11 appointed university Board of Trustees seats. But the FLBC still doesn’t seem to see a problem and has kept quiet.

That FLBC’s decline in commitment to defending FAMU comes at a time when news reports are raising serious questions about its operations, especially when it comes to its relationship with the Florida Conference of Black State Legislators (a nonprofit foundation).

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Warren’s silence on Mangum’s slights toward state GOP officials sends message

Florida A&M University receives its annual appropriations from a legislature that has a Republican majority. The relationship between the FAMU president’s office and the state GOP leadership went downhill during Elmira Mangum’s first year at the university and is continuing its steady decline. But current FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT) Chairman Cleve Warren has shown no signs of caring.

Back when the BOT voted to hire Mangum in 2014, Rattler Nation wrote about how FAMU presidents have faced tough challenges ever since the Republicans gained control of the legislature and governorship in the 1990s.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Carter gets big pat on the back from Scott after publicly mocking FAMU alumni lawmakers

Former Board of Governors (BOG) member Matthew Carter II has received a big pat on the back from Gov. Rick Scott after loudly scolding Florida A&M University alumni lawmakers who expressed concern about their alma mater in August.

On December 18, Scott appointed Carter to the FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT). There’s already talk in Tallahassee that moving Carter from the BOG to FAMU is part of an effort to fast-track him into the FAMU chairmanship in time for a likely presidential search in the upcoming months. June 30, 2016 is the deadline for a discussion on whether President Elmira Mangum’s employment will be renewed. She began a three-year contract on April 1, 2014.

Carter’s former colleagues on the BOG can create a vacancy in the FAMU chairmanship as soon as they get ready. Current Chairman Cleve Warren’s term expired more than a year ago on January 6, 2015.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

2010: Carter ousted as chairman of scandal-plagued Florida Public Service Commission

Back in 2009, Matthew Carter, II was denied reappointment to the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) amid reported suspicions that the agency was inappropriately close to the private utility companies that it had a duty to regulate.

Carter, who was the sitting PSC chairman at the time and was seeking another term, had issued a press release weeks earlier saying he took “great offense” at the suggestion that he and the other commissioners were “too cozy with regulated industries, [Florida Power & Light Co.] in particular.”