Audit: FSCJ gave former VP $215K to settle dispute

Author: Scott Johnson, Reporter, sjohnson@wjxt.com
Steve Patrick, Managing editor of digital content, spatrick@news4jax.com
Published On: Jan 18 2014 12:55:08 AM EST   Updated On: Jan 18 2014 12:27:23 AM EST
Florida State College at Jacksonville sign, FSCJ
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Florida State College at Jacksonville provided $100,826 in "enhanced separation benefits" to 18 former college employees and improperly paid $215,236 to settle a dispute with former executive vice president, Don Green, according to a report released this week by Florida's auditor general.

The audit found the college did not property calculate final payments and overpaid more than a dozen outgoing employees, contrary to Florida law and Internal Revenue Service guidelines.

The miscalculation was related to value of college-provided vehicles, which are supposed to be considered taxable income to the employees.

The state audit shows many changes FSCJ will need to implement, many of the changes deal with how they were paying high level staff, including former president Steve Wallace. Wallace was terminated in 2013 over how he was managing the school and using FSCJ foundation funds for personal use.

DOCUMENT: Auditor general's report on FSCJ

In addition to the overpayments, the audit found the college's written policies on electronic fund transfers lacking and that controls over payments to contractors needs to be enhanced.

Page 4 of the audit reads, "According to college records, the former president's use of compensatory time resulted in overpayments totaling approximately $160,000 to the former president. As of Dec. 6, 2013, the matter involving the unauthorized compensatory time was being investigated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the State Attorney's Office."

The auditor general also noted issues with non-financial matters, such as strengthening controls for reporting instructional hours for adult education courses and not always providing written notification to individuals when their Social Security numbers were collected.

FSCJ's chief financial officer, Cleve Warren, spoke to Channel 4 about the audit Friday afternoon.

"In an organization as large as this, you can expect there's going to be some areas where improvement is necessary," said Warren. "We have some of those, we're not surprised we have some things in those findings, but I think all of them are manageable."

The audit comes on the first week that the college's new president, Cynthia Bioteau, promised transparency as part of her efforts to rebuild the reputation of FSCJ, which serves more than 60,000 students in Duval and Nassau counties with about 1,200 full-time and adjunct faculty.

"I think if you went to the next college wherever that might be, you would find problems," said Warren. "These problems aren't that significant, but in the course of running a college the size of this in the state of Florida, you'll come up with issues from year to year that you have to address."