UPDATE: FAMU Reaches Deal With Mangum

Feb 13, 2014

Update: Florida A&M University has reached a deal with incoming president Elmira Mangum. In a statement issued around 10:20 p.m. Thursday, FAMU's board chairman Solomon Badger said, “We are pleased that we have approved the terms of the presidential contract and in speaking with Dr. Elmira Mangum tonight, she has agreed to accept the terms in the updated contract. We look forward to our meeting with the Board of Governors on February 20 to confirm her appointment.”

Mangum's contract will pay her $425,000 a year, something that has drawn contention with some of FAMU's trustees. She will live in the President's House on campus, and will be provided a car for her personal use--another sticking point in contract negotiations.

She will begin her new job April 1.

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Florida A&M University Trustees are inching closer to a deal with the school’s president-elect, Elmira Mangum. Trustees haggled for more than two hours Thursday evening on whether to agree to the changes Mangum’s attorney’s made to the proposed contract.

The debate on the contract was heated as Trustees argued over what they would and would not agree to. At one point, discussion dissolved into a battle over voting procedure between Trustees Naryan Persaud and Rufus Montgomery:

Montgomery: Take a look at Article 7—closing and preventing debate. Eat your heart out.”

Persaud: "Okay, and Mr. Chair, I want to point out--"

Montgomery: “There has to be a ruling of the chair regarding my point of order. The chair has to rule”

Persaud: “Mr. Chair--"

Montgomery: “Before discussion continues, I have a point of order the chair will rule on this.”

Persaud: “You’re speaking more than once, Montgomery."

Mangum had submitted a counter-offer to trustees which included a requirement FAMU give her a car. Trustees had previously turned down a car allowance for the incoming president, but agreed to Mangum’s terms. The board did make an additional change to Mangum’s post-presidential compensation package. If she quits her job before her initial three-year contract is up, she would have a sabbatical for only six months, instead of a year. That means the school would only have to pay her presidential salary for less time. After the board finally agreed on amendments to Mangum’s contract, trustee Torey Alston suggested a support vote—an attempt, he says, to show the group is still united behind Mangum’s presidency:

“I think we all know what the chatter is, but I think we need to send a message as the governing body of an institution that despite the spirit of the debates that take place, we’re still unified as a board about our incoming leader.”  

The contract negotiations have revealed deep division among FAMU’s board of trustees, especially when it comes to how much the president-elect should be paid. Many continue to have reservations about Mangum’s $425,000 a year salary, a figure more than $80,000 more than her predecessor made. The contract now goes back to Mangum for her approval. She is set to go before the state university system governing board next week.