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Bowles seeks to rein in payouts to campus officials

Posted August 12, 2009

— Following the disclosure of a lucrative payout to a former North Carolina State University provost, University of North Carolina President Erskine Bowles wants more controls placed on such pay deals.

Larry Nielsen stepped down as N.C. State provost in May amid questions over his role in the hiring and promotion of Mary Easley, the wife of former Gov. Mike Easley.

Mary Easley's hiring by the university is part of a federal grand jury investigation into the dealings the former governor had with friends and contributors while in office.

Nielsen plans to take a faculty position at N.C. State, and former Chancellor James Oblinger, who also resigned over the Mary Easley controversy, approved a pay package for Nielsen that would have allowed him to continue collecting his provost's salary for six months. The pay package also would have reduced Nielsen's salary to that of a professor over a three-year period, which would violate a university policy limiting payouts to one year.

The N.C. State Board of Trustees voided the payout in June, saying they never approved the deal.

Bowles said in a memo to the Board of Governors that policies allowing administrators who retire or return to teaching to continue collecting their previous salaries, known as "retreat rights," are too generous and need more accountability and definition.

He suggested shortening the amount of time administrators are eligible for paid leave to six months, unless a longer period has been approved by the UNC Board of Governors. He also said all payout packages should be approved by the board of trustees at the campus where an administrator works and, in some cases, by the Board of Governors as well.

Under Bowles' proposal, which the Board of Governors is expected to review Thursday, current Chancellors and senior administrators would be grandfathered in so existing policies would continue to apply to them.


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  • xxxxxxxxxxxxx Aug 13, 2009

    "Why would you allow an administrator a six month PAID leave?"

    Because a lot of these administrators come in as fully tenured professors and you can't just "untenure" someone. There is a process.

  • prn13norm Aug 13, 2009

    Bowles should be forced to resign. He was the one in charge during the Easley fiasco.

  • CrewMax Aug 13, 2009

    I guess sometimes it is too late to do the right thing. At least when your cronies are involved.

  • Stringbean Aug 13, 2009

    This is all just a dog and pony show.

  • discowhale Aug 13, 2009

    If they current crew is "grandfathered", then Neilsen and Oblinger are too. The courts will take about 10 seconds to tell Bowles that they are due their contracted money too. Although the resigned under strange and curious situations, they were not fired. In NC that usually means the contract stands.

    Plus, they're all politically interconnected and cover each others keesters. If Bowles gets into their money NOW, it could happen to him, LATER.

    Most of the judges are Dems here too, remember.

  • Tolip Aug 13, 2009

    Headline reads, "Bowles seeks to rein in payouts to campus officials"

    The headline should read, "Bowles pretends to rein in payouts to campus officials"

  • GWALLY Aug 13, 2009

    ..."Why would you allow an administrator a six month PAID leave?????? beachboater..."

    beach...wage earners are get paid for performing a task...the rest teach...(and that is really tough you know)!!!!!

  • Pineview Style Aug 13, 2009

    It sounds like 'Skins hand was forced to take a closer look at these payouts. I'm sure this is a measure to save face after the whole fiasco with Mary Easley and Chancellor O.

  • beachboater Aug 13, 2009

    Why would you allow an administrator a six month PAID leave??????

    I can think of NO reason.

  • me2you Aug 13, 2009

    Why should anyone get paid the salary they once had in a position they no longer hold? If they go back to a position that pays less, then you get paid for that position. Ridiculous. Does the same hold true if they "transfer" to a higher paid position?