FSCJ board of trustees begins management shakeup

College president silent on Gov. Scott's call for full review

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Florida State College at Jacksonville's board of trustees eliminated the job of a controversial vice president and suspended four employees as it reacted Tuesday to a management audit and costly financial aid mistakes.

The board's action on Tuesday comes as Gov. Rick Scott calls for a review of the college's leadership from top to bottom. College President Steve Wallace declined to comment Tuesday on the governor's statement.

The college is faced with issues such as a half-million dollar compensation for Wallace, and the debacle of handling out financial aid for thousands of students not eligible.

The board of trustees has been dealing with these problems for the last six months, and the new chairman says board members are taking it in stride.

"I am pleased that the governor cares about this college and how things are working here," Chairman Gwen Yates said. "We appreciate his remarks to us, and I can tell you this board is fully engaged in what is going on here, and we are going to be working through it and we will work through it as a board of trustees."

That's what they did at a meeting Tuesday, reviewing recommendations on how to change the school. Many deal with problems in financial aid and the $4.7 million it has to repay the federal government.

"What happened is our very well compassionate staff bent the rules and they gave students -- they gave students appeals, which did not meet the federal requirements or regulations," Wallace said. "That is totally unacceptable. It's well-intentioned, but it's unacceptable and cannot happen in the future."

Trustees voted to eliminate the position of the executive vice president, currently held by Don Green, approved one-week suspensions without pay of four employees of the financial aid office and demoted the head of that department.

The union representing the FSCJ faculty on Tuesday also voiced a lack of confidence in the college's management.

"What we are getting is lots of fire coming to us from faculty," said Karen Morian, faculty union representative. "They are feeling very unheard and very unappreciated. They see all this happening and can do nothing about it, and no one is asking our opinion."

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