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N.C. State chancellor calls for Mary Easley's resignation

Posted May 18, 2009
Updated May 20, 2009

— North Carolina State University Chancellor James Oblinger on Monday urged the wife of former Gov. Mike Easley to leave her university post.

The move comes in the wake of the resignation of two N.C. State officials and federal and state investigations into the former governor's dealings with friends and campaign donors.

Oblinger said her resignation would be in the university's best interests and that he had discussed the issue with her. He declined to comment further, calling it a personnel issue.

N.C. State Chancellor James Oblinger NCSU chancellor: Mary Easley should resign

University of North Carolina President Erskine Bowles supports Oblinger's belief that Mary Easley should resign, UNC system spokeswoman Joni Worthington said.

Mary Easley couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

If she doesn't resign, Senate Minority Leader Phil Berger said he would work to eliminate state funding for her job.

Mary Easley began working as a part-time lecturer at N.C. State in 2002. Since 2005, she has served as an executive-in-residence and senior lecturer, developing the Millennium Seminars speakers program and teaching a graduate course in public administration and courses in the Administrative Officers Management Program, which provides leadership training to law enforcement officers.

Last year, she received an 88 percent pay increase, to $170,000 a year. N.C. State officials defended the move, saying she had taken on additional duties, such as directing pre-law services at the university and serving as a liaison to area law firms and law schools at other universities as she developed a dual degree program.

She signed a five-year contract when she got her pay raise. It's not known whether there is a buyout provision in the contract, which could make getting her to leave a costly proposition for N.C. State.

Provost Larry Nielsen, who hired Mary Easley, submitted his resignation on Thursday, citing the stress over questions about the hiring and his subsequent promotion to provost. The resignation takes effect on Friday, when Nielsen will take a faculty position in N.C. State's College of Natural Resources.

McQueen Campbell resigned Friday as chairman of N.C. State's Board of Trustees. Mike Easley twice appointed Campbell to the board and, according to published reports, often flew in Campbell's private plane.

The Board of Trustees has scheduled a special meeting for 5:15 p.m. Wednesday. Members are expected to name a new chairman.

Neilsen and Campbell have maintained they did nothing wrong in Mary Easley's hiring, although Campbell did tell Bowles last week that, when N.C. State officials were looking for someone to oversee the speakers series, he mentioned to Oblinger that Mary Easley was looking for a new job.

Oblinger said last week that he couldn't recall how Mary Easley's name came up in the search for a Millennium Seminars director, but he said she had the network of contacts the university needed in that position.

"I do know one thing for sure, that if I had felt any push, I would remember that," Oblinger said Monday.

On Friday, the State Board of Elections launched a criminal investigation into Mike Easley's campaign finances, and the FBI subpoenaed the former governor's travel records from the state Highway Patrol, which provides a security detail for the first family.

Federal investigators already have looked into vehicles provided to the Easley family while Mike Easley was governor and into a land deal he made on the coast.

Mike Easley issued a statement Saturday in which he said he was "comfortable with the federal authorities collecting and reviewing all records relating to my 30 years of public service to the people of North Carolina."

A federal grand jury meets in Raleigh on Wednesday, but it's not known whether any evidence in the Easley investigation would be presented.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • dws May 20, 2009

    lol, Hagan missed her window of opportunity: http://www.newsobserver.com/politics/story/1535316.html

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama May 20, 2009

    Vote Democrat. It's "Corruption" that you can believe in.

    Kay Hagan is quickly trying to get Obama to replace the republican prosecutor replaced by a Democrat. If this happens, the Easley's and their gang will get off with no punishment.

    Call Hagan to keep this from happening.

  • ifcdirector May 20, 2009

    Yeah. Good luck with that. Remember. Keep voting democrat. Corruption you can believe in.

  • rmauney2000 May 20, 2009

    Perfect example of the "Golden Rule"

    -Those who make the rules, get the gold;
    Thos who have the gold, make the rules

  • TheAdmiral May 19, 2009

    Well, ya know - corruption begets corruption.

    Hopefully the whole family earns a cell next to Easley's best buddy - Jim Black.

  • nobama May 19, 2009

    Ms. Easley should go to jail if this is true. Also I would like the former Governor and those at NC State punished for their role in the bribery and corruption.

  • nufsaid May 19, 2009

    "Breaking News: Federal investigators have subpoenaed employment records for the wife of former Gov. Mike Easley, dating to 2002.

    No problem. The Easleys feel above the law. And if Kay Hagan succeeds in swapping prosecutors quickly they may still get away with it.

  • Nonewsisgoodnews May 19, 2009

    Breaking News: Federal investigators have subpoenaed employment records for the wife of former Gov. Mike Easley, dating to 2002.

  • oldfirehorse May 19, 2009

    Nonewsisgoodnews~ Thanks, that is a refreshingly direct answer and I fear very accurate. Well put!

  • Nonewsisgoodnews May 19, 2009

    "Could someone explain what your perception is with regard to why we, collectively, would tolerate massive cuts in essential state services, and leave non-essential services operating? I really don't get it? -oldfirehorse"

    Because its not direct enough for them. Numbers and figures don't bring up faces and their personal lives into mind like those two stories. We can picture Mary Easley. We don't like her and know a lot of sleazy stuff about her. Everybody knows a smoker and has an opinion. We can't picture the face of the school teacher who is a single mom with two children leaving off of $35,000 a year and all the good deeds she does in and out of the classroom or that same women in the hospital who will now die unnoticed nearly as easily when they hear only "3 billion dollars out of an unknown amount will be cut from education and public health services".