Trustee asks governor to intervene at FAMU

Published July 5, 2006

TALLAHASSEE - A Florida A&M University trustee has asked Gov. Jeb Bush to investigate the reason that the school's inspector general was suspended after beginning an audit into the activities of senior administration officials.

A spokeswoman said Tuesday that Bush was unlikely to intervene.

The school's interim president, Castell Bryant, put inspector general Michael Brown and assistant inspector general Joan Hart on leave last week, creating an uproar among trustees already caught in the middle of several controversial layoffs and dismissals.

Officials have declined to discuss what Brown wanted to investigate or why he was put on leave, saying only that the move was necessary.

The trustee who wrote Bush, the Rev. R.B. Holmes of Tallahassee, said in his letter that the governor's intervention would be "the right and moral thing to do."

However, the governor, who is spending this week in Maine, may not act on Holmes' request.

"The governor has the full confidence in the presidents of the university system to take the appropriate decisions and make personnel actions," Bush's communications director, Alia Faraj, said Tuesday. "This has all happened when he was traveling."

Bryant was named interim president in January 2005 to replace Fred Gainous, who was fired after two raucous years as president.

"The inspector general needs to be reinstated. He needs to complete his investigation," former FAMU trustee Barney Bishop told AP Florida Video. "He needs to be unfettered in his ability to do what needs to be done to find out what the truth is because the problem is we've always had a problem getting the truth out of this administration."