Raleigh, N.C. — A bill that would have opened the search for a new University of North Carolina system president to public scrutiny was gutted before it left the state House on Tuesday night.
On Monday, the House adopted language that would have required that the names and resumes of three finalists become public before the UNC Board of Governors selected a new president. The same measure would have required the board to discuss those candidates in public.
However, late on Tuesday night, those two provisions were stripped out of Senate Bill 670 before House members voted to send it to the Senate.
Now, the bill merely requires that the three final candidates be submitted to the board, but that submission doesn't have to happen in public.
Rep. Nelson Dollar, R-Wake, pushed for the changes that limited the transparency. He said the system would have a problem recruiting candidates if they were required to declare they were seeking the job.
Senators said they were disappointed by the late changes.
"We've had quite an experience getting a new president," said Sen. Tom Apodaca. "It seems to be a real mess."
Members of the Board of Governors are currently searching for a replacement to Tom Ross, who will retire at the end of this year. Apodaca said that members of the board who are not part of the search committee have been contacting lawmakers to complain about a process they say has been secretive.
He called the House bill "okay," but said he would have rather seen a public search process.
Senators voted to send the bill to Gov. Pat McCrory 47-0.