New FAMU prez gets right to work
A day after the Florida Board of Governors embraced James Ammons as Florida A&M University's new president, Ammons was inside the Capitol in Tallahassee, meeting with lawmakers.
Friday afternoon, Ammons sat for more than an hour with Sens. Al Lawson, Tony Hill and Gary Siplin and with Tallahassee Rep. Curtis Richardson to lay out his first priorities - and the state money he'll need to accomplish them.
He wants to boost the number of faculty in FAMU's acclaimed pharmacy school, which graduates a majority of the nation's minority pharmacists. And he wants to secure accreditation for the law school and business school.
But above all, Ammons said he wants "trained, competent staff" to fix FAMU's mountain of financial problems, which were laid out recently in a state operations audit.
"There is no substitute for having clean audits," Ammons said. "We've got to get a handle on this. It's serious."
With Sen. Lawson's help, he will try to set up meetings in the next couple of weeks with House and Senate leaders to talk about FAMU's budget needs for next year. The timing is key: When lawmakers return after the Passover and easter holidays, it's budget crunch time.
In the meantime, Ammons will meet with FAMU students and faculty and do a few personal errands - like wrapping up loose ends at North Carolina Central University, where he's chancellor; and finding a house here in Tallahassee.