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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Audit: FAMU needs to pay bills on time



TALLAHASSEE — State auditors want Florida A&M University to pay its bills on time, keep a closer eye on employee use of state-owned cell phones and do a better job collecting bad checks.

Florida A&M President James Ammons formally agreed with the findings in a two-paragraph response to a seven-page audit in which he said corrective measures were already being made. Some of the problems detected by auditors came before Ammons took over as president at the historically black university in July 2007.

“Audits get your attention,” Ammons said Thursday. “Corrective action for all seven of those findings are now in place. These issues will not be repeated in future audits.”

The school has a history of bookkeeping issues, recently requiring a special task force to monitor some of its financial operations.

However, the problems revealed in the latest audit paled in comparison to some previous ones at the school. Just two years ago the school was hit with 35 findings that included some $4.5 million in unaccounted sports tickets and lost equipment.

“We also were on probation with SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools), had a financial audit getting ready to get underway and we had the Board of Governor’s task force on the campus,” Ammons added. “I have to say that this team did an extraordinary job in a very short time.”

Auditor General David Martin noted more than $209,000 in returned checks to the school and that a sampling revealed that collections letters didn’t go anywhere from two to nine months afterward.
And while vendors are supposed to be paid within 40 days of delivering services, some waited almost a full year.

Martin also recommended the school contact the Florida Department of Financial Services and the Internal Revenue Service to report the value of each employee’s excess cell phone calls as a form of income.

- The Associated Press

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:11am]


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