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

Friday, August 28, 2015

BOG not signaling any interest in saving Mangum presidency

Back in June, the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) said that it would review the claims from a group of FAMU alumni in the legislature who said that FAMU Board of Trustee Chairman Rufus Montgomery’s treatment of President Elmira Mangum has been “bordering dangerously close to bullying.” But the BOG still isn’t signaling any interest in saving the Mangum presidency.

The tension between Rufus and Mangum has increased in the weeks after the lawmakers took their concerns to the BOG.  The latest clash took place on August 17 when Mangum accused Rufus of violating her “employee rights according to University Regulation 10.103(3b) -Nondiscrimination Policy and Harassment Procedures.” She later told the Florida Times-Union that she thought Rufus was working toward the goal of firing her.

But BOG Chancellor Marshall Criser and BOG member Matthew Carter both downplayed the seriousness of the problems that Rufus and Mangum have with each other in statements to the media this week. Criser brushed off the issue by saying that it was “noise around the edges.” Carter told a reporter that “I don’t think the relationship is broken.”

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

NAA declines to support call to remove BOT chair, Mitchell repeats concerns about Mangum

Last week, a group of state lawmakers made a public request for FAMU Board of Trustees Chairman Rufus Montgomery to either resign or be voted out of his leadership office. According to WFSU, FAMU National Alumni Association (NAA) President Tommy Mitchell said the organization he leads was asked to support that position, but said no.  

“While we chose not to be part of that press conference, we’re equally concerned about the dilemma of our board chair and president of being unable to work together,” he said.

On Wednesday, a number of FAMU alumni in the Florida Legislature sent a letter to the FAMU Board of Trustees that said they wanted Rufus out of the chairmanship. The group included Rep. Alan Williams, Sen. Arthenia L. Joyner, Sen. Dwight Bullard, Rep. Mia Jones, Rep. Shevrin Jones, and Rep. Bobby Powell. Mayor of Tallahassee Andrew Gillum also signed the letter.

Friday, August 21, 2015

SACS: Removing FAMU chairman mainly because of lawmakers’ request would raise red flag

Yesterday, FAMU Board of Trustees Chairman Rufus Montgomery rebuffed a group of state lawmakers who made a public request that he either resign or be voted out of his leadership position. He hinted that those legislators might hurt FAMU’s ability to abide by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Standard 3.2.4, which says university boards must stay free from political interference.

“For the good of the institution and to prevent charges of undue political interference, I hope that our elected officials will allow our Board to do the job we were appointed to do,” he said.

WCTV-6 contacted the SACS headquarters in Atlanta, Ga. and asked it about the issue. The television station reported that: “A representative with SACS says if the FAMU Board of Trustees remove Montgomery as chair solely or largely because the legislators asked them to -- that would raise concerns. SACS is not looking into the matter at this time, but, FAMU could get a warning, probation, or lose accreditation.”

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Rufus rebuffs lawmakers’ calls for him to resign, hints at SACS rule against political meddling

Back in 2011, Rufus Montgomery was quiet after the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) scolded Gov. Rick Scott for interfering in the FAMU Board of Trustees’ duties by trying to pressure it to suspend then-President James H. Ammons. SACS told the governor that his actions could jeopardize FAMU’s accreditation.

SACS Standard 3.2.4 states that each member’s governing board must be “free from undue influence from political, religious, or other external bodies and [protect] the institution from such influence.”

Rufus had called for Ammons to be placed on administrative leave only seven days before the governor made his statement in support of the same proposal. He declined to criticize Scott for placing FAMU’s accreditation in danger. But yesterday, Rufus appeared to be very anxious to remind a group of FAMU alumni lawmakers about SACS Standard 3.2.4.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

McKnight placed in the middle of Mangum, BOT leadership dispute over SACS rules

The dispute between FAMU President Elmira Mangum and the Board of Trustees leadership over the rules of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) has put Avery McKnight between a rock and a hard place.

Back on August 5, the chairman and vice-chairman of the Board of Trustees challenged Mangum’s claim that the shift of the $12,996,539 core operating budget of the College of Engineering (COE) to Florida State University (FSU) was a “management decision.”

The Joint College of Engineering Governance Council unanimously passed a resolution to make that change during a meeting on May 20. The decision was made without a vote of approval by the FAMU Board of Trustees.

Vice-Chairman Kelvin Lawson said that “Section 3: Comprehensive Standards” of the SACS rules could give the Board of Trustees a way to challenge what the Joint Council did.  “Section 3” includes a rule that says the policy-making job of the board of a school must remain distinct from the job of the administration to oversee the execution of policies.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

BOT chairman: “The communication is horrible and is not improving”

The minutes of the June meeting of the FAMU Board of Trustees state that President Elmira Mangum and the board members “agreed to hit the reset button and move forward with communication, collaboration, and mutual respect.” But yesterday, Chairman Rufus Montgomery said that his conversations with the president had become even more contentious.

“The communication is horrible and is not improving,” Rufus told the other trustees during a conference call on August 17.

Rufus said that he and Mangum had spoken over the phone earlier that morning. He said that her response to his request for more timely and detailed information was “odd, disrespectful, and unacceptable.” The chairman also said that the president left the call in an abrupt manner.

Monday, August 17, 2015

BOT shouldn’t give Mangum its trust as long as she refuses to answer questions about alleged Cassidy call

Back during a discussion with the FAMU Board of Trustees on August 5, President Elmira Mangum was uncooperative when she was asked for a “yes or no” answer to a question about an alleged phone call that the chairman said he received from a vice-president in her administration.

At the Special Committee on Governance meeting held on that day, Chairman Rufus Montgomery said that a senior member of the FAMU administrative team had called him and asked him if he would be willing to have the committee end its discussions on two topics it was considering. According to him, those topics were the possibility of having the FAMU general counsel report to the Board of Trustees in addition to the president and clarifying the options that are available to the board for employing outside counsel.

The chairman said the administrator told him that in exchange, Vice-President for Legal Affairs and General Counsel Avery McKnight could be replaced with a new potential general counsel.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

“Mangum Building” adds to growing list of controversial home improvements for college presidents across nation

Some members of Rattler Country have unofficially named the newest addition to the grounds of the FAMU President’s House the “Mangum Building.” It is a detached garage made of red bricks. The facility has a set of double doors with paint and roof shingles that match the color of the home that it stands beside.

FAMU President Elmira Mangum seemed to take pride in showing the detached garage to her employees during the 2015 Faculty and Staff Barbecue. She even posed for pictures in front of it with some of her guests.

But some FAMU trustees are concerned about the process that led to the construction of that new auxiliary building. Trustee Robert Woody said the project cost about $77,000 and that Mangum did not ask the Board of Trustees to approve it. Chairman Rufus Montgomery also questioned the appropriateness of the project “given the budgetary challenges faced by the institution.”

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Trustee says about $77,000 spent on garage project for on-campus President's House without BOT approval

FAMU Presidential Residence in 2011 (Google Maps)
FAMU Trustee Robert Woody recently expressed his concern about what he said was a garage project of approximately $77,000 that took place at the on-campus presidential residence. He said that President Elmira Mangum did not present the project to the Board of Trustees for its approval.

“An example of her failure to communicate with the Board is on the renovation of the garage at the President’s House. This renovation cost was approximately $77,000 which the President did not present to the Board resulted in a failure to receive approval for the project,” Woody wrote in his individual evaluation of the president for 2014-2015.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Chair, vice-chair challenge Mangum’s claim that COE budget shift was a “management decision”

Last week, the chairman and vice-chairman of the FAMU Board of Trustees challenged President Elmira Mangum’s claim that the shift of the $12,996,539 core operating budget of the College of Engineering (COE) to Florida State University (FSU) was a “management decision.”

Back on May 20, the Joint College of Engineering Governance Council unanimously passed a resolution to shift the COE fiscal agent duties from FAMU to FSU. The FAMU voting representatives on the Council are Mangum (or her designee), Provost Marcella David, Vice-President for Research Timothy E. Moore, and Chief Financial Officer Dale Cassidy. FAMU had served as the fiscal agent for the COE for 28 years.

That change was made with a vote of approval from the FAMU Board of Trustees.

Vice-Chairman Kelvin Lawson brought the issue up during a meeting of the Special Committee on Governance on August 5. He gave the other trustees a set of pages from the rules of the Commission on Colleges for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and asked them to look at “Section 3: Comprehensive Standards.”

Monday, August 10, 2015

FAMU trustees reaffirm confidence in Rufus, continue questioning Mangum’s leadership

Rufus reelected chair, Lawson reelected vice-chair

On July 30, Rattler Nation reported that Rufus Montgomery was on his way to an easy reelection as chairman of the FAMU Board of Trustees and that Cleve Warren was unlikely to run against him again.

Sure enough, the FAMU Board of Trustees unanimously reelected Rufus on August 6. Warren didn’t come to the meeting or even bother to participate over the phone.

The members of the board also reelected Kelvin Lawson to the vice-chairmanship. Belinda Shannon nominated Kimberly Moore for the job, but Moore declined to vote for herself and supported Lawson. Shannon cast the only vote for Moore.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

BOT chairman says Cassidy approached him about potential deal to replace McKnight

Vice-President Dale Cassidy (left) and Vice-President Avery McKnight (right)
Yesterday, the chairman of the FAMU Board of Trustees said that a senior member of the FAMU administrative team called him about a potential deal to replace Vice-President for Legal Affairs and General Counsel Avery McKnight.

Rufus Montgomery created a Special Committee on Governance shortly after he became the new chairman of the Board of Trustees in April. He asked the committee to discuss the possibility of having the FAMU general counsel report to the Board of Trustees in addition to the president. He also asked the committee to seek clarification on the options that are available to the board for employing outside counsel.

At the Special Committee on Governance meeting held yesterday, Rufus said that a senior member of the FAMU administrative team called him last weekend and asked him if he would be willing to have the committee end its discussions on those issues in exchange for replacing McKnight. He said that the administrator shared the name of the potential new general counsel.

“I was told in exchange for replacing Attorney McKnight, we would drop this whole thing,” Rufus said.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

90-day performance improvement plan might be introduced for FAMU president

At the Presidential Evaluation Committee meeting in July, FAMU Board of Trustees Chairman Rufus Montgomery proposed a 90-day performance improvement plan for President Elmira Mangum. He said that it would be a way to address the fact that most of the board members gave Mangum a “Did Not Meet Expectations” rating for four out of the ten categories on her annual evaluation.

The four categories were personal characteristics and values, organizational management, internal relations, and board and governance relations.

On a scale of 1 to 100, when you fail four categories, that gives you a 60 percent,” Rufus said.

He said a 90-day performance improvement plan could be a way to deal with that problem.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Mangum dodges BOT question on documents about FAMU-FSU College of Engineering

UPDATE (8/5/15): A memo posted to famu.edu shows that Vice-President for Communications Jimmy Miller wrote a response to the Board of Trustees on July 24, 2015. He said the differences between the two documents were an unintentional error. He also said that his office would send the correct document to the press "immediately."

ORIGINAL STORY (8/4/15): At a FAMU Board of Trustees committee meeting last month, President Elmira Mangum dodged a question about a set of documents related to the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE).

Chairman Rufus Montgomery handed out two documents during the July 21 meeting of the Special Committee on Governance. According to the draft minutes of the committee, “one document dated May 22, 2015 was sent to the Trustees and another document dated May 22, 2015 was sent to the media.”

Rufus said that the document that the administration sent to the press went out on July 10. According to him, both of the documents dated May 22 referred to the May 20 meeting where the Joint College of Engineering Governance Council passed a resolution to shift the COE fiscal agent duties from FAMU to FSU. The FAMU Board of Trustees did not take a vote to approve that shift.

Monday, August 03, 2015

Alumni challenge Mangum’s claim that FAMU didn’t previously have budget control for COE

On July 21, FAMU Trustee Cleve Warren asked President Elmira Mangum if FAMU had controlled the budget for the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE) before the creation of the Joint College of Engineering Governance Council in 2015. The Joint College of Engineering Governance Council passed a resolution back on May 20 to shift the COE fiscal agent duties from FAMU to FSU.

“For clarity purposes, before the creation of this joint committee, did A&M have control of the budget?” Warren asked.

“My opinion would be that the dean controlled the expenditures of the College of Engineering; FAMU kept account of them,” Mangum said.

Trustee Kelvin Lawson, a FAMU alumnus, disagreed and 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.”

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Rufus’ support on FAMU Board of Trustees remaining steady as Mangum’s declines

Rufus Montgomery appears to be headed to an easy reelection as the chairman of the FAMU Board of Trustees next week.

Back on April 8, Rufus won the race to serve out the remainder of the term of former Chairman Chuck Badger. Badger left the Board of Trustees on March 27, 2015 when Gov. Rick Scott replaced him with new Trustee Robert Woody.

Badger had been a supporter of FAMU President Elmira Mangum.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Mangum likely to have few defenders left on FAMU Board of Trustees by January

The next round of term expirations on the FAMU Board of Trustees could make it even harder for Elmira Mangum to keep her administrative ship above water.

Back in April, Rufus Montgomery won the chairmanship of the Board of Trustees with a 9-4 victory against Cleve Warren. The vote count showed the split between the trustees who were supporters of Mangum and those who either want her gone or appear to be losing patience with her.

Rufus has been Mangum’s biggest headache on the Board of Trustees since her contract negotiations last year. He was a leader in the unsuccessful attempts to set her starting salary at $325,000 instead of the $425,000 she wanted and also to try to deny her a tenured position in the FAMU College of Education.

Mangum and Rufus went on to clash at Board of Trustees meetings with Rufus telling her during an August 11, 2014 conference call that the board could cut off her microphone. According to a Tallahassee Democrat article that ran later that month: “Reminded that Montgomery is closely affiliated with Gov. Rick Scott, who appointed him to FAMU’s board, Mangum responded: ‘What does that say about the people that appointed him?’”

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Tensions rise over Mangum’s treatment of FAMU faculty

Back in 2014, several of the semi-finalists for the FAMU presidency had records that showed they had very little respect for college faculty. Elmira Mangum was not one of them and that helped her get the job.

But now, a growing number of the FAMU faculty members who gave their support to the vote to appoint Mangum that year are expressing disappointment about the way she is treating FAMU professors.

Faculty Senate President and Board of Trustees member Bettye A. Grable gave Mangum a “Does Not Meet Expectations” rating for eight of the 11 questions in her presidential evaluation. Some of her biggest criticisms were about a lack of shared governance by the administration.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Mangum’s attempts to mend fences with Scott too little, too late

Gov. Rick Scott could make Elmira Mangum’s problems with the FAMU Board of Trustees go away with only a minimal amount of effort on his part. But she doesn’t have much of a chance of getting any help from him after what she said last year.

Back on August 23, 2014, the Tallahassee Democrat ran a story that included the following comments that Mangum made about Trustee Rufus Montgomery: “Reminded that Montgomery is closely affiliated with Gov. Rick Scott, who appointed him to FAMU’s board, Mangum responded: ‘What does that say about the people that appointed him?’”

Scott appointed Rufus to the FAMU Board of Trustees back in 2011. 

That statement to the Tallahassee Democrat might have seemed like a good idea to Mangum back when the polls were showing that Scott was in a neck-and-neck race with former Gov. Charlie Crist for the governorship. But Scott won his bid for reelection just over two months after that statement was published.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Trustees take Mangum to task for supporting shift of $12.9M engineering budget to FSU

Yesterday, members of the FAMU Board of Trustees took President Elmira Mangum to task for her claim that they had given her the flexibility to decide whether FAMU would keep the fiscal agent duties for the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE).

On May 20, 2015, Mangum and the other voting representatives on the Joint College of Engineering Governance Council unanimously passed a resolution to shift the COE fiscal agent duties from FAMU to FSU. FAMU had served as the fiscal agent for the COE for 28 years.

“There was a statement made by a senior administrator that the board supported this decision,” said Vice-Chairman Kelvin Lawson. “You hear from the comments that this isn’t true.”

Lawson’s statement appeared to be in response to a quote by FAMU Vice President for Communications Jimmy Miller that was in the Tallahassee Democrat last week. Miller said the change made with the resolution was consistent with what the FAMU board “authorized” during a February meeting.