FAMU Admonishes Hardee for Misuse of Time

Florida A&M President James Ammons recently ordered that Chief Financial Officer Teresa Hardee lose nearly one week in vacation time, approximately 34 hours, for her alleged misuse of work time to do graduate coursework.

Ammons‘ August 5 decision followed an investigation by the university general counsel who recommended Hardee be punished for allegedly trying to do graduate work on university time. In a letter to Karl White, chair of the FAMU Board of Trustees Audit Committee, General Counsel Avery McKnight recommended that Hardee’s annual leave be reduced by 58.5 hours, and she be suspended without pay for three days. 

Michael Boone, former director of business process reengineering and Hardee’s then-fiance, was also under investigation and admitted to “utilizing FAMU work-time related to Ms. Hardee’s coursework at UPenn.” His position was terminated as a result of the loss of stimulus dollars, effective June 30, 2011.

Hardee has been FAMU CFO for more than four years after working at North Carolina Central University as an internal auditor. As CFO, Hardee has been working toward receiving her executive doctorate in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania, which required her to make trips to the campus to take classes. The classes were from Thursday to Saturday and she was given permission to leave the university to attend them.


 Hardee denies any wrongdoing. “No, I do not think I did anything wrong; however, some additional context is necessary to respond to this question,” Hardee said in an email response to questions from the Famuan. “My position is such that I have responsibilities that require me to routinely work nights and weekends. I have responsibilities that require me to be on call virtually 24 hours a day.”
She estimated that she has  worked more than 4,000 hours in excess of the standard 40-hour work week since coming to FAMU in 2007. “This adjustment in time that I was asked to take would amount to less than one percent of the excess hours that I have already worked,” she wrote. “The fact that I did not see the need to take annual leave for the days that I traveled to Pennsylvania to attend class the next day was because I was in fact working on FAMU business even while working from home on the Wednesdays in question.”

In an emailed statement to this newspaper, Ammons defended decision, calling Hardee and “outstanding administrator who has provided strong leadership in her division.” “She remains an outstanding member of my leadership team,” Ammons said. I believe the non-disciplinary employment action taken against Ms. Hardee was appropriate given the nature of what occurred.”

Anonymous accusations were made to the Office of the General Counsel in April after discrepancies were discovered in the time she was away for her classes. The accusation states that the time away from FAMU to travel to the University of Pennsylvania did not match the amount of time Hardee was approved to take leave. One particular area of interest in the investigation was the work from home status she used on her Wednesday travel days.

For more information, see Wednesday’s edition of The Famuan.