NC Community College System president resigns

Posted July 31

The scene as the State Board of the N.C. Community College System voted to replace system President Jimmie Williamson with Chief of Staff Jennifer Haygood as of Oct. 1. None of the board members attended the meeting, participating instead by phone with Haygood (left) and Executive Director of Accountability and State Board Affairs Bryan Jenkins.

— The president of the 58-campus North Carolina Community College System has resigned effective Sept. 30, the system announced Monday after a closed meeting.

The move comes 13 months after James C. "Jimmie" Williamson became system president, moving here from South Carolina. No reason was given for his departure.

Williamson himself is on vacation this week and next and unavailable for comment, system spokeswoman Chreatha Alston said Monday. He will return before the 30th, she said.

The State Board of Community Colleges, which met via conference call late Monday afternoon, spent about a half-hour in closed session before voting unanimously to make system Chief of Staff Jennifer Haygood acting president as of Oct. 1.

The board accepted Williamson's resignation, but no vote was taken in open session to do so, and Haygood said none was required. He will not receive a severance package, Alston said.

The move appears to have been in motion for some time. WRAL News received a tip during the board's July 21 meeting that a change might be afoot during an hour-plus closed session the board held that day.

After that meeting, half a dozen board members, including the chairman and the vice chairman, as well as the president himself, were asked whether Williamson was on his way out. All declined comment.

The board met again Friday, again going into closed session. It recessed that meeting until 4 p.m. Monday. Under the state's open meetings law, that allows public bodies to come back into session without sending written notice to the public or the media, provided the body announces in open session its intention to return.

No board members actually attended Monday's meeting. Executive Director and Auditor for State Board Affairs Bryan Jenkins managed the meeting from the board's conference room. Haygood sat in for much of it, though she was asked to leave during part of the closed session.

Williamson started with the system July 1, 2016, replacing an interim president who'd been in place since September 2015.

Before coming to North Carolina, Williamson headed South Carolina's Technical College System. His final salary was $286,000 a year.


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