Audit sends red flags

Like clockwork, FAMU is again in the news for financial and operational woes.

On March 14 Interim President Castell Bryant received an audit report of all preliminary and tentative findings that sent up red flags in the auditor general’s operational audit of FAMU for the fiscal year, which ended June 30, 2006.

The report, which was signed by Florida’s Auditor General William O. Monroe, cited 35 issues ranging from the failure of the University’s accounting records to accurately reflect the Board of Trustees-approved operating budget to inadequate monitoring of cellular telephone usage.

Some of the other issues included a lack of accountability over scholarships awarded to students under its Presidential Scholars Program, careless instances where University records did not confirm that travel payments for student meals were actually disbursed to students and failure to pay numerous employees for work performed.

The report also issued its own recommendations for the University to rectify some of its findings. One such recommendation pertained to employees not receiving pay.

“The University should continue its efforts to identify and pay all employees that are still owed salary payments, and to take additional corrective action, as necessary, to prevent future late salary payments from occurring,” according to the document.

University officials are not taking this audit lightly. “We do recognize this is a serious matter,” said LaNedra Carroll,

FAMU’s director of university relations and public affairs. She said, “We do hope to clear up this matter. This was a preliminary audit.

Pursuant to Section 11.45(4) FAMU has 30 days to electronically submit a written statement explaining the preliminary findings and a plan on how they plan to correct the problem.

In an effort to correct the issues, Bryant has opted to once again hire KPMG to perform an internal audit. Despite FAMU’s financial problems, KPMG has been hired to perform the audit at a cost of $300,000 plus an additional $50,000 for the month of March alone. According to a letter draft from Paul L. Stepusin to Bryant, which was in the BOT March 21 Audit Committee meeting agenda, “KPMG will bill FAMU out-of-pocket costs such as report production, typing, postage and travel.”

Additionally, the draft mentioned that the fees were dependent upon the full support and assistance of FAMU personnel. “This fee estimate is based on anticipated cooperation from your personnel and the assumption that unexpected circumstances will not be encountered during the engagement.”

Pamela Bryant, special assistant to the University president, said the audit was not anything unusual. “It’s a routine operational audit. They do this every two years,” she said.