Showing posts with label rick scott. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rick scott. Show all posts

Friday, April 11, 2014

Mangum: FAMU would need $100M for new E-College building and $15M in recurring funds

The design for the Phase III building of the current FAMU-FSU College of Engineering
Back when T.K. Wetherell tried to push FAMU out of the joint College of Engineering in 2008, then-Sen. Al Lawson estimated that it would take around $100M to provide FAMU with an independent engineering school that’s comparable to the one in Innovation Park. That estimate did not include the recurring revenue that would be required to hire new faculty members, since the majority of the current E-College’s professors are on Florida State University’s payroll.

New FAMU President Elmira Mangum reminded the State of Florida of that price tag on Wednesday in a letter that she sent to Gov. Rick Scott.

She began the letter by explaining that FAMU opposes the legislative proposal to split the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering. That proposed change was introduced into the Florida Senate budget by Sen. John E. Thrasher.  

Thrasher wants to give FSU its own independent College of Engineering. He says that FAMU can keep the current facility in Innovation Park and the annual operational budget of $10.9M. But that money pays mainly for costs such as utilities and maintenance. For example, FAMU uses that money to pay the salaries of all the employees in the Building Services Department (e.g.: the custodial supervisor and janitors).

Monday, February 03, 2014

Mangum should insist on having a super-majority clause in her contract

No one could blame Elmira Mangum if she has started having second thoughts about the FAMU presidency after the way the university’s Board of Trustees treated her last week.

Attorneys for Mangum and FAMU came to a mutual agreement over a proposed contract. But on Friday, board members shot down the joint recommendation and demanded that the president-designate agree to changes in areas such as compensation.

The trustees also took a disrespectful “our way or the highway” tone toward Mangum by effectively giving her one week to concede to less generous employment terms.

At this rate, it would not be shocking to see Mangum just  say “no thanks” and stay in her comfortable job at Cornell University.

But if Mangum does decide to give the FAMU Board of Trustees a second chance (which is what a large number of students, faculty, and alumni are hoping), she should not put her signature on any employment agreement that lacks a “super-majority clause.”

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

FAMU trustees try to save face after dirty, dysfunctional presidential search process

Had the behind-the-scenes deal-making at FAMU gone as planned, Elmira Mangum would have never become one of the two finalists for the university presidency.

Ahead of the application deadline, Rattler Nation learned that certain FAMU-associated individuals who were eager to please Gov. Rick Scott had passed an unofficial short list of presidential candidates up the ranks. That list had a Washington, DC candidate, a Georgia candidate, and a Texas candidate.

It was said that the DC candidate was former Howard University President Patrick Swygert and that the Georgia candidate was Morehouse School of Medicine President John E. Maupin, Jr.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Ava Parker isn’t qualified to be FAMU’s president

The push to promote an Ava Parker presidency at FAMU is already old news in Tallahassee. But Parker’s decision to pass on applying for the State University System of Florida (SUS) chancellorship has renewed talk that she has her eye on Lee Hall.

Back in July of 2012, a number of FAMU trustees were told that Parker, then a member of the Florida Board of Governors (BOG), was interested in becoming the university’s interim president. There were also attempts to pressure them with claims that Gov. Rick Scott would welcome Parker’s selection, but would but unhappy if then-Provost Larry Robinson were selected for the position.

Even after FAMU trustees bucked political pressure and appointed Robinson to the interim presidency, there was still lobbying aimed at gathering support for Parker as a permanent FAMU president. Those efforts temporarily calmed when she was tapped to become the chief operating officer of Florida Polytechnic University, one of Scott’s pet projects, back in November of 2012. But word has spread that she’s anxious to nab a higher paying job in the SUS.

Parker currently makes more than $200,000 at Florida Polytech. The SUS chancellorship, which she declined to apply for after months of speculation, is expected to pay at least $357,000 (the amount that ex-Chancellor Frank Brogan made). FAMU paid its previous president a base salary of $341,000.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Scott defends chief of staff who lied about college degree

Gov. Rick Scott and Chief of Staff Adam Hollingsworth
Gov. Rick Scott has another chief of staff scandal on his hands.

Last week, the Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times confronted Adam Hollingsworth, the top-ranked aide in the Executive Office of the Governor, with evidence that lied for years about possessing a college degree. After learning that he’d been discovered, Hollingsworth finally admitted to what he had done.

“For many years, I publicly stated that I was a graduate of the University of Alabama, however, I did not complete my degree until 2009,’’ Hollingsworth told the Herald/Times. “I am not proud of this and I deeply apologize for this misrepresentation. I have learned from this failure in judgment and know that, over the last several years, my life and character have and will continue to grow from this.”

Scott was full of excuses when the press asked him for a comment on the issue.

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.  

Friday, October 04, 2013

Badger must avoid same mistake Art Collins made during 2001 presidential search

Back in 2001, Art Collins defied Gov. Jeb Bush by winning the first FAMU trustees chairmanship race despite being pressured to let R.B. Holmes have the position. Collins seemed to think his election victory meant it would be easy for him to build enough support to seat a highly-qualified successor to President Frederick S. Humphries. But he underestimated R.B.’s desire for revenge.

On the night before the final vote in the selection process, the majority of trustees still supported Collins. There were more than enough votes for Charlie Nelms, the only candidate who had been the top executive of two universities, to become the ninth president of FAMU. Nelms had served as chancellor of Indiana University East and the University of Michigan at Flint before being selected to serve as vice-president for student development and diversity for the entire Indiana University system.

But the 11th hour shadiness that is still typical of FAMU Board of Trustees processes turned the presidential search into a train wreck. A lie that claimed there weren’t enough votes to seat Nelms was spread throughout that evening. By the end of the shenanigans on that night, Nelms had withdrawn his application.

When the board met for the presidential vote the next morning, the anti-Collins trustees smiled and laughed when the chairman had to announce that Nelms was out-of-the-running. A group of trustees that included R.B., Castell Bryant, and Jim Corbin then worked to fast track the selection of Fred Gainous to run FAMU.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Dream Defenders serve Scott with an eviction notice, move to voter registration

On Thursday, legendary civil rights leader Julian Bond stood with the Dream Defenders as they announced their decision to end their sit-in and move on to the next phase of their justice campaign.

“I say to the young people here, you’re ending a protest because you started a movement,” said Bond, a co-founder of the former Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. “That movement is going to reverberate across the state of Florida and eventually to the adjoining states, until all of America knows something about the strength and the power that was demonstrated here.”

Following the press conference with Bond, the Dream Defenders marched to the Florida Governor’s Mansion to serve Gov. Rick Scott with an eviction notice. They plan to register 65,000 new voters, which represents the margin of victory that Scott carried in 2010. Scott is running for reelection in 2014.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Badger reelected chairman, Scott gets consolation prize with Rufus as vice-chairman

A nasty behind-the-scenes process is finally over.

Rufus Montgomery, the go-to trustee for Gov. Rick Scott, failed to secure enough votes to win the FAMU chairmanship in the hours leading up to the official beginning of today’s Board of Trustees meeting. The majority of the trustees rebuffed Rufus and reelected Solomon L. “Chuck” Badger, III to another two-year term in the chairman’s seat. Scott did ultimately receive an olive branch from the board members as Montgomery was given the vice-chairmanship.

For the second time, there was heavy outside political pressure for the trustees to replace Badger with Montgomery. The first time was back in March after Badger suspended the presidential search.

Trustees shouldn’t give Scott control of FAMU chairmanship, presidential search

Rufus Montgomery and Bill Jennings, or the Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion
If FAMU was the Land of Oz, Rufus Montgomery would be the Scarecrow. There isn’t much inside his head except what comes from the governor’s office.

The push to give Scott control over the FAMU Board of Trustees by putting Rufus in the chairman’s seat is already old news on campus. Back when the presidential search process was suspended in March, Rattler Nation learned about behind-the-scenes plans to call for a special meeting to remove the incumbent chairman and hand the gavel to Rufus.

That attempted coup fell flat due to the lack of the super-majority required to remove a board officer. Section 3.2 of the board’s operating procedures states: “Officers may be removed after reasonable notice by an affirmative vote of no less than two-thirds of the members of the Board.”

There were not nine votes (out of the 13) to dump the sitting chairman and appoint Rufus in his place. But when the board votes for new officers on August 8, only seven votes will be needed to elect a new leader.

Rufus is the last person who should be running board meetings as FAMU determines who will serve as its 11th president. He has shown no independence from Gov. Rick Scott.

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.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Efforts to discredit, harass Dream Defenders kick into high gear

Back when the Dream Defenders began their sit-in at the Florida capitol a week ago, few state officials took them seriously. Gov. Rick Scott and his subordinates seemed to think that they were just a disorganized group of shouting kids who would give up easily and go home.

But now that the protesters led by former FAMU Student Body President Phillip Agnew have shown that they have the discipline and passion to go the distance, Scott’s political operatives and other opponents are taking the gloves off.

Blaming the protesters for creating a bigger security bill at the Florida capitol for taxpayers

On Tuesday, July 23 the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), which reports to Scott, released a memo entitled “Estimated Costs and Incident Reports for Capitol Protests.” It says that the seven-day sit-in has cost the state a total of $97,970.88.

“We are paying, or will be paying overtime because of the protests. And yes officers are working longer hours to make sure we have proper coverage,” said FDLE spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger.

Plessinger added that the Capitol Police force (a division of the FDLE) has doubled the number officers it regularly has in each of its shifts.

State Rep. Alan Williams, a FAMU alumnus and chair of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus, responded by saying that the Dream Defenders pay taxes, too.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Williams, other lawmakers come to aid of Dream Defenders

Today, the Dream Defenders are heading into the seventh consecutive day of their sit-in at Gov. Rick Scott’s office. Bailey Myers, a reporter at WCTV-6 in Tallahassee, asked how the protesters led by former FAMU Student Body President Phillip Agnew were obtaining supplies.

“Night and day the members have been sitting in the Capitol lobby without things like air-conditioning or showers,” Myers said. “That’s because the second they walk out the Capitol doors, they're not supposed to be able to get back in. We were curious to find out how exactly they were feeding themselves without having true access to the outside world, and found out they are getting a little bit of extra help. Florida Legislators have access to the Capitol at all times so they have been supplying these activists with the essentials.”

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Dream Defenders fight on as Scott refuses to support repeal of “Stand Your Ground” law

After avoiding the Florida capitol for three days, Gov. Rick Scott returned to Tallahassee and sat down with the leaders of the Dream Defenders, a group of young protesters who want the state to drop its “Stand Your Ground” law.

“Tonight, the protesters again asked that I call a special session of the legislature to repeal Florida’s ‘stand your ground’ law,” Scott told reporters in a written statement. “I told them I agree with the Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection, which concurred with the law.”

Former FAMU Student Body President Phillip Agnew, executive director of the Dream Defenders, said he and the more than 70 nonviolent demonstrators will continue their sit-in at Scott’s office until the governor takes action to do away with the controversial statute.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

FAMU board took step toward cleaning up its reputation by permitting flexibility on Robinson’s appointment

Every presidential search conducted by the FAMU Board of Trustees has been a dirty process. Between 2001 and 2007, the core conflict always came down to a tug-of-war between the FAMUans who wanted a research-oriented president with a backbone versus those determined to pick a weak president who Jeb Bush’s top cronies could easily control.

The latter group won in 2002 and 2005 in the wake of under-the-table dealing and smear campaigns against high-quality candidates. They came just one vote short of winning again in 2007.

Jeb is long gone, but Rick Scott has gotten the band back together by using many retreads from the Bush years to try and take over Lee Hall. Today, the go-to persons for the governor’s office’s bullying against FAMU include Frank Brogan (Jeb’s one-time lieutenant governor), Dean Colson (a Jeb appointee to the Commission on Ethics and Judicial Nominating Commission) and Rufus Montgomery (field director for African American outreach in Jeb’s 1998 gubernatorial campaign).

That is why it was encouraging to see the FAMU board establish a safeguard against the outside pressure to tap a spineless, submissive president. For the first time since its creation in 2001, the board declined to vote to restrict the interim president from being considered for the permanent position.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Agnew, Taylor lead sit-in at Scott’s office, demand new Florida civil rights act

Three days after the acquittal of George Zimmerman, the shooter who killed unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, demonstrators across the nation continue to denounce the “not guilty” verdict. Thousands of citizens in cities such as Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Detroit, and Washington, DC have hit the streets to demand justice for the deceased child.

On Tuesday, the protest movement came to the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee as a group led by former FAMU Student Body President Phillip Agnew launched “Takeover Tuesday” in Gov. Rick Scott’s office.  

Agnew, executive director of the Dream Defenders, started a sit-in at the Florida governor’s office to push Scott to take action. Ciara Taylor (pictured below), another FAMU graduate who previously marched on the Florida Governor’s Mansion in 2011, came from Jacksonville to assist in coordinating the nonviolent protest. The sit-in activists number at about 100 and include students from both FAMU and Florida State.

“We want the governor to call a special session of the Legislature to address the environment that killed Trayvon Martin,” Agnew told Florida Watchdog. “This is a crisis situation and it’s important that (Scott) get our message.”

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Hastings, Brown slam Supreme Court ruling on Voting Rights Act

Yesterday, the two FAMU alumni who represent Florida in the U.S. House of Representatives, Alcee L. Hastings and Corrine Brown, spoke out against a Supreme Court ruling that invalidated Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

“I am extremely disappointed by the Supreme Court’s ruling,” Hastings said. “They have put at risk the right to vote for millions of Americans.  For decades, the Voting Rights Act has stood as an essential safeguard against racial discrimination in our political system.  Unfortunately, voter suppression and discrimination still exist at the polls, and today’s announcement undermines our nation’s efforts to create an open and transparent electoral process for all.”

Section 4 established standards to determine which states must seek federal government approval in order to change their voting procedures. The Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 vote that the standards are unconstitutional. Chief Justice John G. Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel A. Alito made up the majority. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan all dissented.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Scott’s respect for Carroll is as negligible as his respect for FAMU

Jennifer Carroll has stood by Rick Scott’s side ever since he asked her to help him win the Florida governorship in 2010. She defended his integrity when questions were raised about his embarrassing financial past as the head of Columbia/HCA.

Scott rewarded Carroll’s loyalty by kicking her to the curb in the wake of an alleged scam that pales in comparison to the one that led to his exit from the health care company he ran years ago.

Carroll resigned from the lieutenant governorship on March 12 after federal investigators questioned her as part of a probe into an alleged $300 million, illegal gambling ring. Back in 2009 and 2010, Carroll did consulting work for the company that is accused of running the operation. She does not face any criminal charges.

The Associated Press gave the following description of what happened after Carroll answered the questions that the investigators asked her: "When the agents walked out about 20 minutes later, Gov. Rick Scott’s chief of staff was waiting outside her office. He told her Scott wanted her to resign. She immediately said yes and called her husband to let him know."

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Scott’s decision to kill FAMU mosquito lab coming back to bite Florida

A breed of  giant, “monster” mosquitos is expected to infest Florida this summer. The psorophora ciliate, better known as the “gallinipper,” is highly aggressive and can bite through clothing.

Thanks to the veto pen of Gov. Rick Scott, Florida no longer has a major research laboratory that led the way in helping to protect the state from these types of pests.

Back in 2011, Scott single-handedly killed a late effort to save FAMU’s John A. Mulrennan, Sr. Public Health Entomology Research and Education Center (PHEREC) in Panama City. The governor line item vetoed $500,000 that the Florida legislature approved to keep the lab open.

According to Mother Jones Magazine, “along with other budget cuts, the [FAMU mosquito lab’s] closure halved the number of Florida scientists working on mosquito control.”