Task Force to Help FAMU Finances on Right Path

The state of Florida says it will not wait on the sidelines any longer, saying it's time to step in and get to the bottom of the books at FAMU.

It plans to right the financial ship with the help of a special task force. The Florida Board of Governors says a recent audit at FAMU does not show signs of improvement, so it's intervening by forming a task force to assist the university.

Bill Edmonds, Director of Communications for the Board of Governors of State University System of Florida said, “The Board of Governors has ultimate authority for the state university system and decided that the problems there were great enough that it would be unwise to leave them to the university alone to work out.”

In a March 14 report, the state auditor general lists 35 findings and recommendations from the fiscal year ended June 2006, mainly related to record keeping and financial accountability.

Pamela Bryant, special assistant to the president, FAMU, said, "One of them does have to do with our payroll issue in light of some of the recent issues that we've had with payroll on campus. We have already started to address those by making sure that personnel has the appropriate paperwork and things have been done in certain steps."

The task force will be made up of a team of experts from throughout Florida's 11 universities, chaired by audit committee member Lynn Pappas.

Deavin Napoleon, a FAMU student, said, "Even though we are a state school, I think it should be more of our responsibility and we shouldn't have to have outside help. We are an HBCU and we should be proud of that fact."

Bill added, "These are issues that will be resolved. These are not insurmountable issues."

It’s not insurmountable, but the audit manager says millions of dollars are unaccounted for at
FAMU, including six million in student activities, health and athletic fees.

The task force should be finalized in a few days, and the Board of Governors says it is expecting its first report on March 29.

FAMU says it’s been working with the auditor general all along. The university, as well as the Board of Governors, is confident these issues will be fixed. They hope to have most everything cleared up by the time incoming president James Ammons begins on July 2.