Local News

N.C. State trustee asks for review of ex-provost's salary

Posted June 5, 2009

— The new chairman of North Carolina State University's Board of Trustees has asked for a review of the former provost's salary as he transitions to a faculty position.

Larry Nielsen stepped down as provost in mid-May, citing public pressure over how he handled the hiring of then-first lady Mary Easley in 2005 and her promotion in 2008. He and Chancellor James Oblinger have maintained there was no wrongdoing.

Nielsen is preparing to take over responsibilities as a faculty member of the College of Natural Resources. During that six-month period, he will continue to draw the approximately $300,000 annual salary he did as provost. Once he becomes a faculty member in November, his salary will drop to $156,000.

Trustees Chairman Bob Jordan asked Oblinger to review that arrangement.

“This type of transition package is widely used in academia, but these are extraordinary budgetary times,” Jordan said in a statement. “I am asking the chancellor to review the contract to ensure compliance with university policies, rules and regulations.”

Jordan became chairman of the trustees board after the former head, McQueen Campbell, resigned after his role in Easley's employment was also questioned. Campbell has likewise denied wrongdoing.

Despite calls for her resignation, Mary Easley has refused to step down from her $170,000-a-year job.

A federal grand jury has subpoenaed Mary Easley's personnel records and any records the State Auditor's Office might have from any investigation into her hiring or the N.C. State provost's office.

Campbell was a close friend of former Gov. Mike Easley, who twice appointed him to the N.C. State board. The News & Observer in Raleigh has reported that Campbell flew the former governor in his private plane, but the flights weren't disclosed on campaign finance reports.

The federal grand jury has subpoenaed Mike Easley's travel records while in office and is looking into other dealings he had with friends and contributors.


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  • Jeff_W Jun 5, 2009

    NO, lets just tie this in with the other story. We can raise taxes and continue to pay him to sit at home and do NOTHING.

    But, once his 'sit at home for 6 months' salary is completed, can I have an application for that job? I would like to work a few years and then get paid almost $300,000 to sit at home.

  • are you kidding me Jun 5, 2009

    God, when does this end! When I get laid off, I hear the words no health insurance and do not let the door hit you behind. When these guys are should the door, they get another job, and the pay rate at the previous position. Oh, that's right, I don't understand! Jeez...how much longer does this go on?

  • ncjonsc Jun 5, 2009

    It would be so odd to see someone get any press for doing something Good. Instead, you only get elitism and greed you wish you never knew about. If your glad you know your being ripped off, why? Your not able to do anything at all.

    I think I would feel more comfortable not having to read about corp/pol greed and corruption anymore. Even that little bald (was anyway??? did that poor (I mean rich) ittle guy get some plugs or something??) father of 8 kids disturbs me these days. He hooked up with a 17 yr old girl, got caught, and is wife seems to be some sort of drill instructor who did the same. The priest in US Weekly hooking up with a girl. The priest in NC and little boys, for God's Sake, Where Is The Moral High Ground in America's leadership? And I only ask because It's not being advertised to me if any is going on. Maybe the Marketing Department at NandO could help with this. Or the leaders?

  • misva Jun 5, 2009

    This is just nuts. Why should Neilsen receive salary for a job he is not doing? Hey everyone, our guidance counselors screwed us all - we should have become professors and been given a job for life (tenure) and reap benefits no other type of university employee, including other state employees, enjoy. Hey, how many prison guards could we have hired or retained with this rediculous agreement?

  • psm5000 Jun 5, 2009

    Where has this guy been all the time this has been going on. Nice to step forward now and ask questions that should have been answered months ago. He could have asked this months ago. The individuals who signed off on the hiring and the salary of Ms. Easley should be fired. She didnt hire herself nor did she determine her salary. I wouldnt quit 180k job either. I am sure she cares less what the public thinks about her job and her pay. The "bad guys" are the ones who made the decisions to hire her. I wouldnt refuse that kind of job either--would you?
    Click to view my profile

    Exactly right, superman!

  • psm5000 Jun 5, 2009

    The buck stops with James Oblinger. He assented to Easley's hiring. He assented to Nielson's atypical promotion, and Oblinger assented to Nielson keeping an extraordinary salary for a position that Nielson no longer has. Oblinger is part of the good ole boys network that runs NCSU and is a disgrace to that university. Shame one you, Oblinger, and shame on you, NCSU, for allowing this to go on. Fire Oblinger as the first step and a big part of that university's problems would end


  • jurydoc Jun 5, 2009

    Thank goodness someone in some position of power is looking into this. Although such an arrangement might be "common" in academia, these are NOT common times. I was laid off from NCSU last Friday and just the DIFFERENTIAL in this guy's salary (between provost and faculty) for the 6 months between when he resigned as provost and when he resumes as faculty would more than cover my salary for an entire year!! Two other people in my office were also laid off and it would almost cover them too. Hope something is done to save those "little people" left at the university!

  • limeyone2000 Jun 5, 2009

    Seconds out, round two!

  • james27613 Jun 5, 2009

    If he stepped down from his Provost position, how in the world can he still take the same pay ? Perhaps he is using his leave or vacation time or the four weeks of leave they gave state employee's instead of a raise several years ago.

    This in an outrage, makes NCSU look like AIG.

    Mrs. E was given that pay package without approval from the
    BOG, the BOG approved it after the fact.

  • postracker Jun 5, 2009

    Hey Taxpayers.....Relax, take a deep breath, and don't forget to exhale. Just think of it a government proctology thing.