Florida A& M faculty upset by the university’s overpayment error

Several faculty members are furious with the payroll office because of an error that resulted in their overpayment. Some professors at Florida A&M received a letter in 2008 saying that University accidentally overpaid them.

Former FAMU Professor Gerald Grow retired in the fall 2009 semester and said he received a letter saying that he was overpaid and must pay the amount that was given to him.

“I received a certified letter from FAMU basically saying that, without your knowledge or consent, we deposited about 1,200 into your bank account in May of 2008, and we demand that you repay it immediately or else,” said Grow.

In order for Grow to retire in June of 2009, he had to make sure that he was clear from all of FAMU departments by obtaining signatures from 11 different places stating that he did not owe the school any money, equipment, books, parking tickets, etc.

Grow said he was upset with the university’s letter and the procedures that he had to go through to clear himself of the payments that were said to be owed by him.

“I obtained every clearance that FAMU asked for and it took a lot of leg work to get them. The clearances were administrated by an office under the same unit that the payroll belongs to which is Human Resources so the payroll had to know there was a procedure for clearing the accounts for people who were leaving FAMU.”

Florida A&M University’s Human Resources Department said they were not able to comment on the matter of payroll issues.

Even though Grow retired from the university last fall, he still wants to request an administrative hearing and says that FAMU’s position on the incident to this day is that he still owes the school money. The university wants immediate payment.

“I no longer have access to my online payroll records, so there are some things that I can’t check myself. Besides the last time I had access to the “self-service” system, my log-in and password opened the payroll data of some other faculty member, not mine.”

Grow said that the balance that the university says he owes is an error and the records are not correct. He said FAMU owed him almost the same amount of money that as an advance for a trip where he was to present an academic paper which will be published in a scholarly journal.

School of Journalism and Graphic Communication Professor Joe Ritchie had said that he had a similar experience when he had received an overpayment letter from the university last summer.

“The letter said that I owed them $2,000 and requested an immediate payment or they would take it out of my next check, and I said I don’t have $2,00 to pay them right now and that would mean I wouldn’t get a check for next month,” said Ritchie.

Fortunately for Ritchie’s case the university did catch the error and apologized for the confusion and removed his balance.

Several students such as Brandon Hawkins, 21, were conflicted when they heard about the overpayment.

“It seems like every financial aspect of this school has some discrepancies when issuing money. I’m not surprised just disappointed. It’s one thing for the students to experience some problems, but your own employees, now that’s crazy,” said the political science student.

Mechanical Engineer student Jeremy Cox believes otherwise.

“Honestly, I feel like it is just fair because if they over pay a student they take their money directly out of their account and they don’t even wait to see if it is there or not. They take it directly out of their account. If you are going hold the students to that standard then why shouldn’t the professors be held to that.”