FAMU Fires 41 Employees After Audit
Another 21 employees being investigated in light of payroll discrepencies
Florida A&M University has terminated 41 employees as a result of new findings of payroll discrepancies, in a continuing investigation stemming from a universitywide audit conducted in April.
Another 21 employees are being investigated by the university’s Office of Inspector General, and three cases are being referred to the State Attorney’s office, university trustees learned at a June meeting.
Most of the fired employees worked in the university’s Institute for Urban Policy and Commerce, which interim president Dr. Castell V. Bryant abolished this year. It was administered by Dr. Patricia McGill and reopened under a new director earlier this summer.
Trustees were recently informed of the dismissals as Bryant strove to end the fiscal year in the black, and to address the allegations that employees received pay for hours they had not worked and for jobs they had not held.
The fiscal year ended June 30.
The names of the dismissed employees were not disclosed in a report to the trustees from the Audit Committee. The report, made by trustee Pamela Duncan, described five categories of employees who were terminated:
– Employees with multiple jobs who were not reporting their time accurately. Some were leaving their primary job early to report to a secondary one. Others were not showing up to work in positions for which they were receiving a check. Some were being paid for time not worked.
– Employees of main campus departments with local responsibilities, who were living in other cities or states and had full-time positions with other organizations.
– Employees who were working at off-campus locations but had no documentation of the time worked. Some had no time sheets; others had submitted no leave forms for sick or annual leave time taken.
– Some payroll certifiers and supervisors who were not monitoring or checking the hours worked or leave taken by staff members.
– Faculty members who were being paid for teaching classes they did not in fact teach.
Duncan’s report said the 41 fired employees had a combined salary of $1.2 million.
The dismissed employees included the entire staff of the Institute for Urban Policy and Commerce, which had been created in 2000 by the state Legislature to improve economic opportunity in low-income communities.
“There were 21 people terminated from this department, with only five or six of them being full-time employees,” says Duncan. “The remainder of the [fired Institute] employees worked from remote locations.”
Bryant says that the investigation was continuing and that the university would conduct random audit checks during the next school year. She would not identify the terminated employees even to the trustees at their public meeting.
Board chairwoman Challis Lowe supports the interim president in her decisions. “The president is the only one responsible for hiring and firing employees,” she says.
Other trustees agreed.
“We hired the president to do a job and that’s what she’s doing,” says trustee Dr. Regina Benjamin. “We either support the president through all of her decisions or we fire her.”
Some 286 employees were receiving two or more checks because they held multiple jobs at the university. Their checks were worth almost $3.3 million, according to the audit.
— Black College Wire
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