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News Clips 07/03/2013
Records show former FSCJ President Steve Wallace has made $214,000 for little work
Source: Florida Times-Union, 07/02/13
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By Kate Howard Perry
When he stepped down six months ago, former Florida State College at Jacksonville President Steve Wallace vowed to earn every penny of his $1 million exit contract through consulting work.
While grossing about $214,000 since January, records show Wallace attended a handful of community meetings and wrote about six pages worth of reports about the history of the college and its goals.
Interim President Will Holcombe, whom Wallace reports to in the consulting role, said he’s been too busy to work with Wallace on outside projects and it wasn’t appropriate to involve him in “internal” issues he was addressing. Holcombe said that it’s not because Wallace hasn’t been willing to work. Wallace did not return a call for comment.
“Since I got here we’ve had to deal with financial aid issues, the budget, the legislative session and a reorganization,” Holcombe said. “The day-to-day things really occupied me.”
Now that a lot of those issues have been resolved, Holcombe said, he will work with Wallace on a workforce development initiative.
They had several conversations when Holcombe, who began as interim leader in January, was getting acclimated.
Wallace announced his resignation in October and left in January with an exit package worth more than $1 million, including a year of consulting with the first six months at the same salary and benefits and accrued leave time.
The exit package spurred Gov. Rick Scott to order two inspector general investigations, one addressing college president salaries and the other into Wallace and Florida State College Foundation spending.
Inspector General Melinda Miguel found in the salary report that parameters should be set to create more consistency in presidents’ salaries. The second report on FSCJ has not yet been released.
Holcombe declined to address whether Wallace’s work was what he expected, saying he was not here when the agreement was made.
Calls to FSCJ board chairwoman Gwen Yates and four other board members were not returned Tuesday.
Former trustee Doug Burnett, who resigned from the board in November and was the only board member to vote against Wallace’s exit package, said the output doesn’t sound like it merits the salary he received.
“Unless he’s doing something I’m not aware of that’s sanctioned by the college and not well-documented, certainly that seems to come up short of an annual salary around $500,000,” Burnett said.
In late January, then-interim President Judith Bilsky asked Wallace to write a summary based on his historical knowledge about how FSCJ’s five college-wide goals were developed. A week later, in February, Wallace was asked to write a summary for accreditation reviewers on how the college selected topics for their quality enhancement plans.
No other records documenting Wallace’s work exist until May 21 when he discussed plans for a workforce development initiative via emails with Holcombe.
Wallace followed up on June 20 to report he finished “all of the foundational preparation for our workforce development initiative.”
“I have met at least once all of the CEOs we previously identified and I am happy to report that they have all enthusiastically committed to participate,” he wrote.
Holcombe asked him to put his ideas on paper and said they’d plan a meeting for late July.
Wallace’s contract keeps him on the payroll through December.