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Letter from Celine McArthur about FSCJ leadership

Letter from Celine McArthur about FSCJ leadership

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Letter sent by Celine McArthur to the governor and Florida State College of Jacksonville leadership alleging ethical breaches at the college.
Letter sent by Celine McArthur to the governor and Florida State College of Jacksonville leadership alleging ethical breaches at the college.

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Published by: The Florida Times-Union on May 01, 2012
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Coline McArthur

Associate Vice President, Strategic Communications florida State College at jacksonville
( ) 9911 Old Baymeadows Road- Jacksonville, Florida 32256- Phone: 904-632-5028 • E-Mail: celine.mcarthur@fscj.eduWeb: www.floridastalecollegenetwork.com
STATE COlUCI: .. : ~:,:~ k ,
D 11


v : j I ..:-

Date: March 26, 2012 Dr. Steven vVallace College President
Florida State College atJacksonville 50 1 West State Street Jacksonville, FL


Dear Dr. Wallace: The information I am presenting in this letter is not news to you. I've discussed these disturbing discoveries with you, with Dr. Tracy Pierce and individual members of Cabinet over the course of my tenure at florida State College at.Iacksonville.
As a result, the issues continue to exist, however, my ability to communicate

openly with the media, Cabinet, the Board of

Trustees, faculty, staff and students has been systematically restricted as evidenced by the included documents and emails.

( .

\ The evidence also supports my belief that my media expertise was used to find out what you-and some of your Cabinet


to know to conceal these issues from the public, rather than correct them .

My concerns originated in August 2010, when the District Board of Trustees approved the plan to award significant pay increases to members of your Cabinet. When media representatives inquired about this decision, Dr. Pierce and Dr. Christine Arab directed me to inform the media that Human Resources based the individual pay increases on a methodology that compared Cabinet positions to others across the state. However, I was prohibited from reviewing the methodology before I addressed the Florida Times-Union for a story that was posted on September 13,2010, and despite my continued requests, I was prohibited from reviewing the methodology for an additional 27 days after the story broke.

The only information I was permitted to have prior
your review.


my response to the media was on a single sheet of paper handed to includes the date handwritten by Dr. Arab-is included below for

me by Dr. Arab. A photo of that sheet is paper-which




I've provided eventually

a link to the resulting Times-Union

article below.

In addition, I have attached the methodology

I was


by Dr. Arab for you to review-again. The goal was to keep-salaries competitive, a college official says.

TU: Big salary boosts for FSCJ administrators:

etro/20 10-09-13/ story/fl arid a-s tate-cell ege-adminis trators-get -salary-boos ts packet of information I was provided by Dr. Arab is the same packet of

I would like to know if the methodology information I was denied According

the Board of Trustees that information. to the summary However, document

was provided

to make this financial decision.

If they were given something

else to review,

(page #1 of the packet),

the methodology

was based on "like" positions and years of
of the "like" positions from the other


the descriptions

of the FSCJ Cabinet positions,

the descriptions

Colleges and the years of experience from the other Colleges were not included-only methodology also didn't include total compensation and automobiles.

titles and dollar figures. This

for the positions, including performance pay and allowances for housing

The absence of this information would preclude the Boa.rd from making a thoughtful and fiscally

responsible decision. In addition, the summary explains that there were "three different approaches" that were discussed with the College President. Those three approaches are not explained in the packet. Was die Board informed of those three approaches? If so, where is the documentation? If not, how do they know the approach selected was the most appropriate?

Eleven salaries were increased up to 25.3% totaling $275,877. Remember, that's not a one-time boost and doesn't include future cos t of living and performance pay increases. Additionally, there's a note at the bottom of the "total adjustment" grid, that states: "additional significant responsibilities in economic development," Logically, that would apply to Vice President of Student Success and Economic Development Tracy Pierce, who received a 16.8% increase ($25,174). Remember, the Board approved the raises on August 7,2010. However, sometime between March 2010 and August of 2010, Dr. Pierce's position changed to "Vice President of Student Development.and announcement Community Education." Economic Development was dropped. To my knowledge, there was no fOIIDa! regarding Dr. Pierce's new role and responsibilities, although my email records show that his email signature

changed no later than August 4, 201 O-three days before the Board voted on the pay increases. Because I do not have free access to archived Board agendas and Cabinet meetings, I am unable to determine if or when this significant job change was approved by the Board-or approved. at least related to the Trustees prior to the August 7,2010 Board meeting where the raises were To date, the position and job description for "Vice President of Student Development and Community

Education" is not listed on the internal human resources website.

Affairs Spedatist: I Veterans Attain: SpeclaUst II Vice President and ExecutIve Director, Florida Coast Career Tech Vice Prestdent and Provost Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Executive Director, Florida State CoUege Foundatio Vice President of Administrative Services

VaMf'an Affalrs Enrollment

Services Manager

J:~19~~tJdl1a,~2ft'~I 1:47

President of Government Relations President of Human. Resources President of MiUtary, Public Safety and Security President of Strategic Resources Vice President of Student Success and Economk Development Vice President, Tecnnot.agy and CIO . RehabIlitation Training Specialist '1w:1IloccatJofla' Evaluator I

Vice Vice Vice Vice


In the Employee Organizational Hierarchy, Dr. Pierce's title is listed simply as "Vice President"

~reViOU5.' Lagend milflilger
Sefect Campus


the sefected

. sack to Defaul( .
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On the Institutional Effectiveness page of the College website, Dr. Pierce is titled "Vice President, Economic Development and Student Success."



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Topic Selection Criteria
L Fccua is or: student learring ard/cr I~e environment sUpPOrting student ieatning a. !f the tccus is on student IGami~1lenvirc~me-rt must cemonstrate relatio."s~jp 10Mull :1. imporlMCe to occompli$hing the rntssior of the in.lilution. I:: Impaclsignitic~nt student population or broad group of stuoents, ['/ MEIflageable ana based on data.

Topic S,"~oction Committal) Cholr~ Members: LYMe Crosby, Director <>I in.titutiooal Effcctlvo4lesn anc I\ccrooilaticn MaggIe Cabrat-Maly. Campus President. Kent Campos and Cecil Certer. ard i .Ie Baccat3\Sfeale Programs J~rnQtOlia Burton, Librarian. Deerwood Cent~r, and Cbair, Center for th" Advancer

Nancy Yurxo, Associate Vice Presidenl. Liberal Arts and Scierces Gf~ MichaI9!<i. Olractor of Studenl Analylics arlO Rosa;,rch

Kathl6o<ftCiez-vcrz. Oiredor of Academic and instructional Programs Chllola! Alcfocht. Campus Prosidoot, Oo-,mtown Campus er d Advanced Tocnr-olc Tracy P'etce. V,Ce Presidef1t Economic Oeyelopment and Student Success
NaitD. Guine·SimmQr'l5. Studunt

Succccc Ad'Ji~or

Rachelle Wadsworth. Profess Of. KeN Campus: and Faculty Senate President

Mar 17, 20 12';iv;,l>c49:xpmen, ,;xec lllivo

Vite Pmsident. Insl ruction and Sludont Succcsc

On the page in the March 2012 Board Agenda titled "Retirement," where the College President and Cabinet members were positioned to be included in the Senior Management Service Class of the Florida Retirement System, Dr. Pierce's position is listed as "Vice President, Student Development and Community Education."

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In short, this methodology is missing information and contains misinformation. I am confident that this exemplifies how faulted and weak the methodology is to justify the types of increases that were awarded. It would have been more defensible

for the College


seek outside professional and legal services to prepare this methodology, rather than you and members of

your Cabinet who had a vested interest in these increases. I observed a similar, disturbing lack of open communication and documentation in another case just days after the pay raise
story broke. On September 17, 2010 the Florida Times-Union requested information about performance pay increases for

Cabinet members over the past five years-including

individual amounts and justifications. Florida State College's General the

Counsel jeanne Miller-who is also a Cabinet member and "potential" recipient of one of those pay increases-denied

request, ruling that the information was privileged. (Documentation attached) You'll remember that on October I, 2010, the Florida Times-Union hosted a meeting you attended with Ms. Miller, Dr. Arab, Dr. Pierce and me (as an observer, not a participant, per your direction) to discuss the College's legal position on the matter. At this meeting, Ms. Miller stated that she solicited an external, definitive legal opinion from Charles Hedrick at Foley & Lardner that supports her verdict-and the TU-the despite your assurances that the College would provide that information to that it supported Ms. Miller's legal decision? newspaper never received the actual legal opinion from the attorney. How can anyone outside of your

leadership team know for sure that an outside legal opinion was secured-and Resources were legitimate?

Wasn't the point of getting an outside opinion to prove that your decisions and those made by General Counsel and Human

Not disclosing this information was, in my opinion, a dishonest and self-serving interpretation of Sunshine Law that reflects negatively on the College and damages the College's relationships with the media, stakeholders and the community. Remember, these relationships are critical President of Strategic Communications,

fulfilling Florida State College at Iacksonviile's mission and as Associate Vice

my role to "develop and maintain relationships with other external opinion leaders

associated with important college constituencies in business and industry, media, and political arenas." (Dr. Pierce's leadership role description for my position. Documentation attached.) Less than a week after our meeting at the Florida Times-Union, Keiser University announced that it was suing Florida State College at jacksonville (naming you and Vice President of Government Relations Susan Lehr as defendants) for creating a negative impression of its for-profit institution. Based on an undisclosed agreement between the parties, the suit was dropped about a month later, but not before the Florida Times-Union submitted a public information request for expenses accrued by Ms. Lehr in her lobbying efforts. Per your request, I researched this media inquiry and discovered no illegal-or even inappropriate-spending on politicians by Ms. Lehr.

However, during that research, I did discover what the college calls the "hospitality budget" Your staff informed me about what it is, what it's used for and why the College leadership didn't want it to go public: It's the alcohol budget from the Florida State College Foundation. I had several, lengthy conversations with Dr. Pierce and Foundation Executive Director Robert Stamp requesting more information about this budget so I could effectively determine if this budget was going to become a public scandal. I was denied.

However, during my analysis-at your request-of

evidence provided to me by your General Counsel's office connected to

another story being pursued by the local media, (Vice President Donald Green's "double-dipping" by working and collecting paychecks from Florida State College at Jacksonville and Essex County College), I discovered a number of College-related meetings-including "SIRIUS discussion w/alcohoI" below-where alcohol was provided and paid for with the Florida State College Foundation's Cultivation/Hospitality fund.

FLORIDA STATE COLLEGE FOUNDATION. JNC~ RESTRICTED ACCOUNTS FUNDING REQUEST FORM Please complete the fol [owing information and subruh to the foundJUionf(;f~.



Benefit to Con~ge; 5?$-_~ .. COt!~... How many students directly benefit from tbi3 expendlturc?

._:e ~.

. abi:ts-l


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Date :J Ph<meNumber

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According to this form, there wasn't even a benefit to FSCJ.

The second example that I discovered was a meeting at Ruth's Chris Stcakhouse in Jacksonville.



P'ease complete [he following information and submit to (he Foundation for processing.


Vinne,: 1'1.~ct.ing ~-'.-.---' -.-.'~._.

DareofProgrnm:_l/.20I.JSJll Pam.·ci~. s: "on. Green,. t
US T'"elaG6ffiililIfi1.C{;fenm:~

.........,.,.,. .... .. ....... _-,. ------, .,-.._._-----_ f>11W;e: Ruth's Chris ...§.t.eak House

Bcoofir to College:

Jeff Kissinger&- James J. O'Connor, 'l'ratt1!tH.r-rmn::-1-t~-rm"f'rI) .



How mlmy students directly benefit from this expenditure? ..

The line requesting information regarding the "benefit to the College" was left empty.

The following image is the receipt from Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, listing the alcohol consumed by the group.

--...... ,

1ItH Rive! D Ieee oo.Jl ever d C r 0W'I18 P:I az a Jadsocw i lle. H 32207 904 - 390 -8200 19156 KAAftt 51/1 Chk 3n'6 51 f~HNn

RUTH'S (~~\(>~'

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1 Hashed Potatoes I Saut eed Sp mach

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Account title listed as "Cultiv. /Hosp."

Acct. Number:

Account Title:
Check issued by Florida State College Foundation, Inc. to Donald Green. Robert Stamp, the Executive Director of the Foundation, signed the check.

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JACKSONVIllE., Fl 32226


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These are just two of many examples I discovered and shared with Dr. Pierce. I also provided him examples of Dr. Green's leave time and emails that suggested he, in fact, was using Florida State College at Jacksonville resources for his contract work at Essex County College. At that point, Dr. Pierce told me that I would be Dr. Green's spokesperson reputation of the College, nor would I violate my personal ethics and credibility in the community.

the media and

I would say that the College found no evidence of inappropriate or illegal behavior. I refused. I would not jeopardize the

On May 3"', 2011, Dr. Pierce demanded that I return to him the documents regarding Dr. Green that were provided to me by General Counsel to evaluate. During my next meeting with Dr. Pierce, he told me he took away the documents because "Don Green doesn't trust you." You later informed me that the College paid for an outside PR firm to handle the issue. To my knowledge, Dr. Green was never reprimanded, despite the evidence. In addition, despite media requests, you never issued a formal finding nor have you accepted any requests to be interviewed on the matter. Florida T'imes-Union report: Investigated
h tlp:!!iacksollvillc.com!ncws!

FSCJ official keeps position but report kept secret

rne fro/2 0 11-07 -0 l/storv/invcstigatcd-fscj-official-keeps-posilion-reporl-kept-sccrc

Your media strategy demonstrated a serious lack of operational transparency and accountability at the College and created unnecessary fear and/or suspicion among internal and external stakeholders-Trustees and media. included.

As I was producing a story about our bachelor's degree program in Nursing (formerly Critical Care Nursing) during the Spring Semester of 2010, I learned that the program had not received accreditation from the National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission. Shortly after I informed Dr. Pierce of my discovery, you and North Campus President Dr. Barbara Darby were standing in the doorway of my office-not asking me how to best share this information-rather demanding

know how I found out and prohibiting my team from further inquiring about the status of the program. In a He clearly stated that a plan was not needed because

later meeting with Dr. Pierce, I inquired about the College'S plan to educate students and prospective students about the implications of earning a degree from a program lacking accreditation. the college technically didn't have to tell the students or graduates. Accreditation issues aren't uncommon, the situation. however, I offer this article as an example of how another College chose to address

N ews-Press.com:

Big week for Edison

State's nursing


when the college notified almost 1 0·0 graduates and 300 current students about ramifications of earning a degree from an unaccredited program. Most graduate
The rest of the quote: "Most graduate schools won't accept them, and some [employers] won't, either." hup:!/www.newspress.com!article/20 120311/NEWSO 1 04{30311 0046/Big-week-Edison~St:ate-s~nursing-program

To this date, the status of FSCj's B.S.N. program accreditation is unresolved and to the best of my knowledge, the impacted students have not been informed. In July 2011, I produced an alumni spotlight on jacksonville Sheriff's Officer Michael Silcox. Officer Silcox was the first graduate of Florida State College at Iacksonvillc's Public Safety Management bachelor's degree program, which was accredited by SACS in 2009. During my interview with Officer Silcox, I asked him about the courses and skills he developed in public safety management He replied, "Most of my classes-especially the upper-level classes-were all business classes, management classes and finance classes." His description (the interview ran about 20 minutes) sounded a lot like the Supervision and Management bachelor's degree program. I contacted Dr. Jerry Stewart, Associate Dean for Public Safety Management, and was told that the program was in the process of being rebuilt for the fall semester of2011. I was told that the program college. Officer Silcox
was was

rushed through development so it would be ready for the College's official transition to a state I have not been able to determine if any other students have been

not provided this information.

impacted by this significant program change. I've included a link to the Alumni Spotlight for you to review again: http://wYvw.floridastalccollegenetwork.com/video/vie w/alumni-spotligh Hso-ofIicer-bccomcs-1 st-pu blic-s graduate

arc Ly-managemcnt-

In May 2011, my team produced a video about the Aircraft Coating Technician workforce certificate program. This production was a bit challenging, since my team quickly discovered that students enrolled in the course didn't have all of the supplies needed to learn how to paint aircraft weeks into the course. Most notably, aircraft parts to paint. Students should not be allowed to enroll in any program-from certificate to bachelor's degree level=until all of the resources are in place.

In my opinion, these three cases indicate a critical lack of program integrity and disrespect for students. Based on my observations, I developed an extensive program questionnaire to be completed by program leaders to ensure that we have accurate, detailed information prior to creating content for the College's website, public educational television channel and for press releases. Our initial focus has been to collect information on the bachelor's degree programs. To date, we have received four questionnaires. Trustees at the March 2012 Board meeting. Early Childhood Education coverage: http://wV..rw.fIoridastatecollegeneLwork.com/video/vicw/educating-the-early-childhoodeducators In addition, I am attaching a video we produced for our Biomedical Pre-Professional Society students who successfully presented at the HAPS 2012 Regional Conference at Deerwood Center on March 2, 2012. hu.p://w>v1yJloridasl:aLccollegenctwork,com/vidco/view/florida-sLatc-college-students-prcscnt~research-at-haps-con.ference The questionnaire returned by the Supervision and Management program leadership needs some improvement However, The Early Childhood Education and Biomedical Sciences questionnaires were quite good as evidenced by the comprehensive Early Childhood Education multimedia content presented to the Board of

the questionnaires returned by the Nursing, Digital Media and Public Safety Management bachelor's degree program leaders call into question the quality of the programs the College is offering. I am currently waiting for the questionnaires

from the College's other bachelor's degree programs. You must know how frustrating it is to depth coverage in the absence of solid information.


and create accurate, in-

You and 1 met recently, in a private breakfast meeting, to discuss some of my concerns. That's when you expressed your disappointment that I have not been able to correct the recent media coverage surrounding the U.S. Department of Education's College Affordability and Transparency Center's fmding that florida State College at Jacksonville had the 2"" highest rate of tuition and fee increase for public, 4o-:year colleges. College Affordability and Transparency Report: htlp://collegccosLed.gov/calc/DefauILaspx# You told me that as your Strategic Communications leader, you expected that I would have identified the person responsible for posting this research and demanded that they take it down. I immediately reminded you that the information presented in that website is correcr--based on the information that was provided by the College. In previous meetings with the FSC] employees responsible for collecting and sharing this information, I know they were diligently working accurate accounting of tuition and student fee increases. You did not have the information you needed
to to

establish an

determine whether or not florida State College at Jacksonville had one of

the highest rates of tuition and student fee increases. However, this did not prevent you from communicating to your Board of Trustees that the information presented in the U.S. Department of Education report and subsequent media coverage was inaccurate.




From: CEO <ceo@fscj.edu> Date: Tue, 8 Nov 2011 16:59:44 -0500 To: \"Mac\1l McGehee (macm@macpapers.com)<macm@macpapers.com>; Bruce Barcelo (bruce@logicalmagic.com)<bruce@ loqlcatmaqlc.corrc-; Candy Hollowayecandyholl oway2@hotmail.com>; Doug Bu rnett<dburnett@bellsouth.net>; Emily Smith (mamasmeeve@gmaiLcom)<mamasmeeve@gmail.com>; Gwen Yates (cwmgwenyates@oomcastnet)<cwmgwenyates@comcast.net>; Ji m McCollum (mccoHum.jim@gmail.com)<TT1ccollum.jim@gmail.com>; Karen BowHng<karenbowling@comcastnet:>; Kevin DeJaney<kdelaney@baywoodtsch.com>; Linda Asay (asayspaeth@aol.eom) <asayspaeth@aoJ.com>; Mi chael Corrigan (Corrigan@tmo.blackberry.net) ~ ~ <Corrigan@tmo.blackberry.net>; WiHiams, Patti R.<P attLWi !Iiams@fscj.edu>; CED<ceo@fscj.edu>;Thamm, Suanne<sthamm@fscj.edu>;Tom Fryer (tomfryer02@gmail.com)<tomfryer02@gmaH.col11>; wwinbush@us.ibm.com<wwinbush@us.ibm.corTl> Cc: McArthur, Geline<cmcarthu@fscj.edu>; Albrecht Christal M. <ChristaI.Albrecht@fscj.edu>; Arab, Chris C.<Chris.Arab@fscj.edu>; Bowers, Steven P.<8BOWERS@fscj.edu>; Cabral-Mary. Margarita A.<Margarita.CabralMaly@fscj.edu>: Darby. Barbara A.<f>darby@fscj.edu>; Green Jr, Oon<Don.Green@fscj.edu>; Kooi, Jana.<..Jana.Kooi@fscj.edu>; Lehr, Susan M. <8LEHR@fscj.edu>;Mann. Brian W.<B.Mann@fscj.edu>; Miller, Jeanne M. <.Jeanne.M.Mil.ler@fscj.edu>; Pierce, TracyA.<Tracy.Pierce·@fscj.edu>; Rennie, Robert J.<Hob@fscj.edu>; Stamp, Aobert<Robert.Stamp@fscj.edu>; Stevenson Jr , James W.<James.Stevenson@fscj.edu>;Williams, Patti R.<Patti.Williams@fscj.edu>; Wright, Denis G.<Denis.Wright@fscj.edu> Subject: FW: Thal 0 cheapest colleges in the US


The link below leads to an unfortunate online arUde which inaccurately identifies our college as a "top rate hiker' when comparing national tuition increases. Our ranking comes from an inaccurate U.S. Department of Education report that we have tried for months to correct with no. success. While we have received no media attention on this to date it is always possible that we will receive inquiries in the future. If so, we will explain the situation and call attention to the fact that though our tuition increases (set by our legislature) are essentialty that same for all colleges in our system (and about ha~f the recent state university system increases) we are the only Florida college on the list. This is dearfy wrong. We will continue to work to get this corrected and will advise you of any media Inquiries.
I believe this provides another example of what can be interpreted as misinformation provided to the Board of Trustees. This information also makes it difficult to defend the recent increases in Cabinet remuneration during these difficult economic times.

(' Additionally, it's unbelievable that you and members of your Cabinet are unable to compile basic, yet critical information about Florida State College at] acksonville -which isn't limited to tuition and student fees. On February 27, 2012, Dr. Pierce directed me to draft a Letter

the Editor of die Florida Times-Union

in response


two articles on higher education and

student debt in the newspaper the day before. In case you missed the coverage, arid didn't read the ernails I sent you, one of the primary take-away messages in the coverage was that the Federal government is shifting its higher education focus from accessibility to accountability. In my research to craft an effective response that truly educates the readers, I endeavored to localize a national statistic regarding completion rates. According

your employees who focus on data collection, the the currently

College can't produce an accurate completion rate because it would contradict other information-including been unable to sort out.

web posted "graduation rate" -that has been submitted to the state. As I was told: "It's a huge mess," a mess Cabinet has

I don't do any completion rate calculations, in part because the Cabinet is still deCIding how they would like

that to be done (locally).
While I won't recount my experience in writing the Letter to the Editor for you again, you do need to remember that I was "ghost writing" this letter for Dr. Pierce-per his directive. Depending on the final result, he was going to decide who on Cabinet would be the "author." Nonetheless, as I am certain you understand, writing an effective response letter to in-depth newspaper coverage on major issues in higher education requires research and Cabinet-level insight and expertise. Dr. Pierce-the the letter. From: Tracy flierce <TP!ERC£@fscj.edu>
Date: Fri, 11 Feb 201113:49;21 .()SOO

Cabinet member who claims ownership of "marketing, admissions, registration, records, student services, high to

school completion, PR, continuing ed, employer service, etc. etc." refused be interviewed or contribute usefulinformation

To: Celrne McArthur <tmcarthu@fs.cj.edu> Subject: Re: SAFT
Yes. Have followed up with SRINand Paul.

Please proceed all the paper and video, Paul needs your support. However, in your long term nrotesslonal and personal development, I will be adding units on how not tcvolunteer and how not to get volunteered I say that with all the success of being the VP of marketing, admissklns, reijistratioll, records, student services, high school completion/PRJ continuing ed, employer service, etc. etc. So you can 5ee how well that has worked for me. Maybe you need a better mentor.

In addition, as the project moved forward, he prohibited me from securing any information from any of your Cabinet members or internal subject matter experts.

Celine, The specific directive was to get me a draft of the letter. It was inappropriate to attempt to distribute this to cabinet without my approval. Please send the draft directly to me ..I will communicate with any cabinet members who are relevant to the completion of this project once I have approved the draft to go forward. Thanks. --Tracy

I sent the draft to Cabinet so I can get critical feedback. Remember, I asked for your input on

this project and you said no-twice. In addition, you were aware that I was continuing to seek input for this piece, so I don't understand your reaction. My sole motivation is the best interest of the College. Celine

Please review the original assignment and produce a letter according to the assignment to the best of your independent capability and provide a draft to me by the end of the day Monday. It is my expectation that with your experience at the college you should be able to produce a suitable draft of a letter to the editor within a relatively snort time frame. Let me also be clear that you have no authorization to send this letter to the medias to any member of the collegecommunttv, or to any other person until such time as I

approve the content.

look forward to seeing your best independent -Tracv



In my opinion, Dr. Pierce's behavior demonstrates gross incompetence. I've attached the em ails-including Dr. Pierce's original assignment-for your review.


Now, I want to discuss perhaps the most troubling information I have discovered during my tenure: The preliminary
findings of the Auditor General's examination of Federal financial aid awards administered to students by Florida State

College atJacksonville. Among the primary findings, auditors discovered that the College was approving financial aid appeals and awarding funds for students who didn't provide the proper documentation and for students who weren't eligible (Satisfactory Academic Progress: SAP) for aid. According to the preliminary audit report, 11 of 30 students tested didn't meet the SAP standards,
but received aid upon appeal. The dollar figure attached to that discovery alone: $128,588. That's more than a third of

students sampled. According to the auditors, some of the factors that contributed to these errors included inadequate SAP policies and procedures and an absence of proper administrative oversight. In short, the College's "decentralized system" wasn't operating effectively. According to the College's internal plan, all 3,378 appeals awarded in 2010/2011 will be reviewed. The College will then reimburse funds-potentially millions of dollars in funds-that were inappropriately provided to students to the proper Federal programs. The College will then attempt to collect that money from those students. According to the College's internal plan, students who cannot or will not reimburse the money will not be able to register for courses or request transcripts. Translation: No more College. Impacted students won't be allowed to attend florida State College at Jacksonville, and without an official transcript, they also won't be able to transfer to another college. My learning of this audit was a result of a media inquiry in late February-around you told Michael Corby-who manages media relations for my department-to the time you, your Cabinet, and tell an inquiring reporter that this audit was

campus/center leadership were involved in emergency meetings to strategize. Meetings I was not invited to attend. In fact, nothing out of the ordinary. Additionally, my requests to Dr. Pierce for more information on the audits were denied or disregarded. My role was simply to forward to him any media requests. The emails are attached. Subsequently, I have obtained a copy of the financial aid preliminary audit and have attached it for your further review.

It also came to my attention that there were questionable fmdings in thejanuary 2012 Operational Audit by the Auditor
General of the State of Florida, which I have attached for your reference. • Finding #4: A College's employee's employment with another organization doing business with the College may have resulted in a conflict of interest in violation of Section 112.313(7)(a), Florida Statutes. (Dr.Creen) • Finding #5: The President's employment agreement included a severance pay provision that is contrary to Section
21S.42S(4)(a), Florida Statutes.

Finding #6: Pursuant to the College President's employment contract, accrued sick leave was transferred to accrued vacation leave, effectively circumventing the limitation for payment of unused sick leave upon termination provided in Section 1012.865(2)(e) 2., Florida Statutes. (This would amount

an additional $95,518 in compensation).

Finding #7: The College has not taken action to recover sick leave overpayments totaling $87,098 noted in our prior report.

In an email you sent to the Board of Trustees and Cabinet on Saturday.january

7,2012 regarding this audit, you stated:

"While some of the wording may sound a bit ominous, there is nothing of real concern in the report. We will go over the repast with you after Tuesday's Board meeting to address any questions or concerns." What about you moving $95,518 worth of unused sick time to your vacation balance and the Board approving a severance pay provision for you that violates Florida Statute-isn't concerning? Lastly, why was this addressed with the Board and Cabinet after the public Board Meeting? Was a public meeting notice published for this post-Board meeting? Is the email you crafted on January 20,2012 your strategy for presenting this to the auditors and the media?
PIerce, Tracy A
• • "'I !
~.'. ••

Cellrte, Miohael, Righ1:now the statement below is draft. Pica", do not distribute this at this time. Currently please "'floet inqUiries from the media. I am working with Or. Wallace to determine who 'hould '''ply. If you have inquirie" pi"",,, media capture contact information and forward cootaa information to m e, I v ensure that tnov rete,,,,, respcase in a timely fashion. Thanks. ·-Tr.'I'

From: CEO <ceo@fsci.edu> Oate: Fri, 20 1an 2012 10;05:16 .{I5Of)
TQ: "Pierce, Tracy A." <Tracy.Pierce@fsci.edu>, 'Clnra!-Maly, Margarita A." <Margarita.Call,.I-Maly@fscj.edu>, "Corby, Michael" <MichaeI.Corby@fscj.edu> t:c: 'MlIier, Jeanne M." <Jeanne.M.MiIler@fscj.f'<iu>, "Lehr, Susan M: <Su«ln.Lehr@f;cj.edu>,SteveSowers ""bowets@fsci.edu>, 'Jim McCollum' (mccollum.iim@gmaii.com"", [randv.hanna@fldoe,org)"<randy.hanna@fidoe.orp Subject: Audit issue with Senate For now, our position is: "fils the opinion of the tollese and 115 attorneys that Dr. Wallace's contract conforms fully with florida law. In a recent audit a question was raised about the cakuladon of aceruedearnad leave. Rather than engage the auditors In a dispute, the College will revise Dr. Wallace's OJn tract to sattsfy the concern of tne auditors. The College has incurred no costs related to this matter,'

"Randy Hanna

am working


refining tnt) and ~.'1ilj k'22P you informed.

Dr. Steven Wallace ColJeg.e President Florida State College 904 632·3222


The most recent examples of potentially exposing the Board of Trustees to criticism occurred at the March 6,2012 Board meeting. First, on the same afternoon that a Florida Circuit Court judge ruled the mandatory 3 percent pension contribution by state workers unconstitutional, you were asking the Board to make a decision

increase your potential participating in the Optional

retirement benefits-and the potential retirement benefits for your sixteen Cabinet members-by the Board of Trustees.

Retirement Program. Had the Board approved this action, the media fallout could have been devastating for the College and

The second example was when Dr. Brian Mann presented the 2011-2012 Career Program Cost Comparison handout to the Board that compared the costs of Florida Coast Career Tech's programs to the for-profit programs. Responding to an inquiry by Trustee Suanne Thamm, your leadership told her that the information in the document had been vetted by legal, was posted on the College's website and, in the spirit of consumer protection, would be further distributed. N at only was the information not posted on the website, my repeated requests to Dr. Mann and Dr. Pierce for this information were ignored for days. Finally, Dr. Mann told me "legal is currently reviewing-again, so hold on." Dr, Pierce

demanded that we "not share with the media the For-profit school cost comparison from the FCCI' presentation at the Board meeting. Also, do not publish this on our website, Facebook or any other place/medium."

Mann, Brian W.
Legal is currently reviewing - again, so hold on.

Brian Mann, Ed.D. Vice President & Executive Director Florida Coast Career Tech florida State College at Jacksonville
401 State Street


FL 32202

(904) 598-5645 bmann(Ci;fscj .edu
hORIUA COA~r • C!,,:!~.!.K T1Ui

Michael ..Celine,

Please do not sha re with the me dia the For-profit school cost compa rison from the FCCTpresentation at the Board meeting. Also, do not pubhsh this on our web site, facebook or any other place/medium.
Thank you for your attention to

this. -Tracy

If this information had not been verified, it should not have been presented in a forum where it becomes public record. While there was no Board action attached to this information, I believe it exemplifies another case where the Board has been provided inaccurate or incomplete information. To be specific: • The issues of leadership credibility and accountability I discovered and presented in this letter were the result of work assigned to me by you and members of your Cabinet. • The discoveries were shared with you and/or members of your Cabinet

The evidence that supports these discoveries exists in the public domain. They are accessible by the Board of Trustees, staff, faculty and stakeholders-including media and lawmakers.

The District Board of Trustees is vested with the responsibility and authority for the proper operation of the College and relies on the information provided by you and your Cabinet

make major decisions.

I strongly believe in the College's mission to "provide optimal access to high quality, affordable and relevant degree, career and community education

enhance the lives of our students and the economic development of Northeast Florida.' I also to the Community in the New Millennium, which states: "Florida State College at

support the College's Commitment positive overall experience."

Jacksonville is a values-driven institution of higher education corrunitted to ensuring that every student has an extraordinarily

I was excited to join Florida State College at Jacksonville to help fulfill this mission and community commitment through the development of college-related, educational programming for Florida State College Network-the public education television channel and multimedia communications platform www.f1oridastatecollcgenetwork.com. as well as the Converged Communications bachelor's degree program. It is disappointing that the expectations for my role have evolved into publically defending or disguising what I consider to be unethical and potentially illegal behavior. I have provided this information to you again in an effort Communications.

fulfill my role as Associate Vice President of Strategic

Please remember Dr. Pierce's leadership role description for my position:

"As the college's chief storyteller, the leader in this role must possess the internal organization acumen to work with senior leadership as well as faculty and other staff to craft a cohesive college narrative which shapes the identity of the college and optimally positions the college to achieve all aspects of the college's mission." I hope that the information contained herein is received in the spirit in which it is intended.


Coline McArthur Associate Vice President, Strategic Communications Cc: Florida State College at jacksonville District Board of Trustees

, ,,

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