More Florida A&M Follies
From the Tallahassee Democrat-
Florida A&M must come up with $4.3 million to pay four computer consultant companies that have been working at the university without a contract or payment since January.Knucklehead Bryant never seems to know what is going on at FAMU. I strongly suspect that even under a new University President, little will change at this poorly run university.
A stunned and incensed board of trustees reluctantly approved the settlement agreements - two of which it hadn't even seen - at its Thursday meeting.
The revelation that companies had been working for months without pay or an approved contract floored trustees, still reeling from a brutal state audit focusing on financial and operational shortcomings.
University administrators last year had promised that trustees wouldn't be forced into paying for consultants after the fact.
"When we sat here and said we didn't want this to happen again, I, for one, meant it," said newly elected Chairman William Jennings. "Right now I'm extremely disappointed."
Chief Financial Officer Grace Ali apologized to the board and said the university could cover the settlements out of its current budget, but not easily.
Henderson agreed that "what transpired is terrible," but said that university officials, including former interim President Castell Bryant, knew the contractors were still on the job because implementation of the school's new payroll system had been pushed back repeatedly. Henderson said he'd sent contract extensions for the companies upgrading the computer system to Bryant's office, but she hadn't signed them.
Bryant, who officially resigns next week, called in during the discussion and disputed Henderson's story. She said he failed to provide information she'd requested about his department's budget needs and about the initial contracts, which expired Dec. 31.
Bryant said she learned about the problem about two weeks ago.
"It was not known to me that people were working without contracts," she said. "There is a lot of information that has not been shared with you."
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