Board meeting looming: Questions surround "Payday at Alabama A&M"

Published: Aug. 8, 2007 at 1:26 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 17, 2007 at 1:46 PM CDT
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With a board meeting scheduled at Alabama A&M this Friday, many questions surround the topic at hand: What, if any, laws and board policies has Dr. Robert Jennings broken during his term as the University's 10th president?

The WAFF 48 Investigators first broke the story-Payday at A&M nearly two months ago.

We first uncovered payroll reports revealing former A&M employee Marco McMillian was paid for the full month of July, when he was actually attending school in Minnesota more than half of that month.

As his supervisor, A&M President Robert Jennings signed off on those documents, admitting to the WAFF 48 Investigators in a phone interview that McMillian was indeed off work much of that month.

Several questions surround the potential payroll impropriety.

When the WAFF 48 Investigators first discovered possible payroll improprieties, based on those reports and an admission by Jennings that he signed off on them, we took our findings to Gov. Bob Riley and Attorney General Troy King.

Neither answered our questions directly, but both state leaders promised to look into the matter.

And just weeks after that, an internal investigation was launched.

An ad-hoc committee comprised of three members of A&M's board of trustees, all lawyers, one a judge, are looking into several issues surrounding an issue the WAFF 48 Investigators first uncovered.

These are some of the questions we've posed and are told cannot be answered until the committee's investigation is complete:

  • What law or board policy gave  Jennings the authority to give McMillian compensatory time for the 18 day retreat he attended in Minnesota?
  • Does the fair labor standards act prohibit all exempt employees from receiving compensatory time?
  • And finally, did Jennings document those hours for McMillian and place them on record with human resources?

Here's what A&M's handbook says regarding the issue.

"Exempt employees do not earn compensatory time off or extra compensation fir hours worked in excess of forty hours per week."

As an executive assistant, Marco McMillian would likely have been classified as an exempt employee, and he was given 80 hours of compensatory time according to Jennings.

We called board president, Dr. Shelton Riggins for comment. But our  calls were not returned.