Internal investigation at Alabama A&M has lawmaker's attention

An internal investigation at Alabama A&M has a state lawmaker's attention.

The state Attorney General's office is conducting its own investigation into possible payroll improprieties linked to university president Dr. Robert Jennings.

A memo from president Jennings, sent in July of 2006, struck a nerve among some faculty and staff members when they read the subject: "Leave from work stations."

Marco McMillian was Jennings' right-hand man until this Spring.

Some employees knew in July of 2006 that McMillian was out of state, nearly 1000 miles away much of that month working on his graduate degree.

Jennings admits McMillian was out of state taking classes.

The WAFF 48 Investigators first raised a red flag about McMillian's time card not reflecting his absence.

Jennings explained the inconsistencies in the document by claiming he allowed McMillian to make up the time he was absent by having him work undocumented hours before and after his trip  to Minnesota.

On July 18th, Jennings sent this memo to faculty and staff across the A&M campus raising concern.

It says "Supervisors must complete a leave form for all leave taken to ensure that the leave properly applies to an employee's account."

"'The question I basically asked the president is do we have two sets of policies?'  One for him and the people that work for him and one for the rest of us?'" said Dr. Roy Fraser.   
Fraser posed that question in an email to president Jennings voicing his concern about ongoing issues he says staff members continuously raise.

One such issue is Jennings request for faculty to avoid speaking to the media.

Fraser believes Jennings made that request in response to WAFF 48's Investigative reports about A&M.

Fraser's email goes on to say. "Mr. McMillian did not have to sign an agreement to work at A&M after he completed his training as other staff are required."

When we look at the way Marco McMillian was hired, the salary he was paid and the privilege he was given for a training, it is inconsistent with the policies that apply for other staff.
Jennings responded to Frasier's email six days later on A&M's web site.

The response says "Mr. McMillian was away from campus for 10 days and not the usual semester or year that is given to employees in which a time commitment upon their return is required."

But there is still an 8 day discrepancy on McMillian's time sheet.

We presented the documents to State Attorney General Troy King.

"We take allegations of the misappropriation of public funds very seriously. There are people in this state who struggle to afford to pay their taxes. They deserve to have confidence that when they pay them they're going to be treated with the right amount of stewardship and fiscal responsibility, so allegations that somebody has misappropriated funds are always important and we always take them seriously. As far as commenting on whether that's occurred here, I don't know," said King.

King went on to say he would make sure the matter is looked into.

We tried again this afternoon to contact Jennings for comment but our phone call has not been returned.