FAMU president unveils plan to fix problems
TALLAHASSEE — Less than two weeks into his tenure at the helm of Florida's most troubled university, Florida A&M president James H. Ammons on Wednesday unveiled an ambitious 100-day plan for resuscitating the flagging college and easing the concerns of national accreditors.
Ammons told FAMU's board of trustees that he and his team of administrators will spend the next three-plus months rectifying the historically black institution's most pressing problems, including poor financial management and oversight, vacant deans posts and shortfalls in flagship academic programs like business, pharmacy and law. Even FAMU's F-rated K-12 lab school will get his attention.
The goals: To get a clean state audit after several years of problem-riddled reviews. And to save FAMU from losing its national accreditation, a seal of approval that is vital to the 120-year-old university's future.
"We have an aggressive agenda," Ammons told trustees. "But I feel confident that with the team we have put in place, and with your support, we can accomplish this in the time frame set out."
Ammons vowed to take a number of actions that address national accreditors' concerns, as well as the 35 problems laid out this past spring in an operational audit by the state auditor general.
They include filling vacant positions and setting up training for FAMU departments that deal with finances; closely tracking campus inventory; and strengthening policies for everything from vendor contracts to cell phone use and payroll requests.
He said he will take necessary action, including termination, against personnel who violate campus purchase and competitive bid procedures and hiring practices.
"We must identify the root causes of these problems," Ammons stressed. "We must restore fiscal accountability, integrity and responsibility."
- Shannon Colavecchio-Van Sickler, higher education reporter