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Fallout from former FSCJ president hits campuses

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Updated: 8/14/2013 9:20 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The fallout at FSCJ continues after board members cut ties with former president Steven Wallace.

The embattled leader is under a criminal investigation for his use of comp time and may have violated state ethics laws.

Through a public records request, Action News obtained Wallace's last contract and there was no maximum amount of vacation days that he could accrue every year.

But instead of using vacation days when he went on vacation, Wallace would use his own system of compensatory time, according to board members.

When he cashed out his unused vacation, taxpayers were left with the bill.

Action News has learned, at the end of his tenure, Wallace cashed out unused vacation time, collecting $336,000 in taxpayer dollars.

Barbara Hightower helped her son enroll at FSCJ Wednesday afternoon. She just graduated with her associates degree in December.

"It's disgusting to us who work so hard for the little bit that we make to see someone being compensated over $300,000 for unpaid vacation time," said Hightower.

Her son, Gavin, is her third child to enroll at FSCJ. Gavin says one man's actions shouldn't taint the entire college. "That his choices should reflect on him and not the school,” said Gavin.

In the wake of the state's Inspector General report, FSCJ has promised more transparency.

Interim president Will Holcombe says it's time for the school to move on. "Understand the lessons learned here about internal controls and about governance," Holcombe said.

With the school year just weeks away, Hightower and her son are focused on the first day of class, not the controversy.

"Checks and balances like we all should have in our lives so that everyone is being treated fairly and that we can trust our government officials and how they're spending our dollars,” said Hightower.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott ordered an investigation into Wallace's spending in October. "The IG's final report exposed irresponsible actions by the former president of FSCJ. Under the leadership of Interim President Will Holcombe and the board, I look forward to seeing FSCJ continue to focus on providing students an affordable, high-quality education," said Scott.

Action News did reach out to Wallace through his attorney but have not heard back.

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