State News

Money removed for seminars run by Mary Easley

Posted June 4, 2009

— A House budget subcommittee agreed Thursday to end state funding for a speakers' series at North Carolina State University run by former first lady Mary Easley.

The amendment by Rep. Hugh Blackwell, R-Burke, was narrowly approved. It would prevent N.C. State from spending state funds for the project through mid-2011.

The university was expected to spend $105,000 on the Millennium Seminars program this fiscal year.

The amendment wouldn't eliminate Easley's $170,000-a-year position at the school.

N.C. State Chancellor James Oblinger, University of North Carolina President Erskine Bowles and other officials have called on Easley to resign after questions were raised about how she was hired in 2005.

A federal grand jury has subpoenaed her 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.

Provost Larry Nielsen and McQueen Campbell, the chairman of the university's Board of Trustees, both resigned last month amid questions about Easley's hiring and promotion. Both men denied any wrongdoing, although Campbell admitted telling Oblinger in 2005 that she was looking for a job.

Campbell was a close friend of former Gov. Mike Easley, who twice appointed him to the N.C. State board. The News & Observer newspaper 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.

The full House budget is expected to come up for a vote next week.

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  • delilahk2000 Jun 8, 2009

    I BET THEY DID NOT CUT HER SALARY. MUST BE NICE TO GET PAID FOR A JOB YOU ARE NOT DOING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • ncblue2 Jun 8, 2009

    N&O Sunday's paper reported that Oblinger's statement saying "it is standard, it is VERY standard". Yeah ! for Nielsen and Mary Easley not for us !!! Oblinger should be fired as well. Cover up.

  • teacher-mom Jun 5, 2009

    Looks like they would just drive down to Southport and live off of what they already have. We cannot afford them.

  • jurydoc Jun 5, 2009

    Centurian, perhaps you missed my earlier post. According to University policy 05.15.1 section 3.3 "Employment within an EPA position that is established by the letter of appointment to be for a stated definite term may be terminated prior to expiration of the stated term because of: 1) demonstrable, bona fide institutional financial exigency, or 2) major curtailment or elimination of a program." Now, they won't claim financial exigency; that's like declaring bankruptcy -- too many ramifications. BUT, "major curtailment or elimination of a program" -- AYE there's the rub! "If the . . .curtailment or elimination of a program is such that the contractual obligation to an employee within an EPA position cannot be met, the employment of the individual may be terminated, subject to the following notice requirements; 1) during the first year of service, not less than 30 days notice prior to termination; . . ."Look out Mary! We can only hope!!

  • Centurian Jun 5, 2009

    1. The legislative committee only makes a "recommendation" to the full voting body, so nothing is done yet.

    2. Ms. Easley woul still be entitled to her full pay by contract. (Contract being the optimal word here.)

  • SomeRandomGuy Jun 5, 2009

    SO there are no Speakers scheduled? That to me means she has failed in her contractual obligations. If she cannot perform her contractual duties, NCSU should have reasonable cause to end the contract WITHOUT penalty.

  • MakoII Jun 5, 2009

    superman,

    NOT agreed. Do you think she's stupid? She doesn't know that she is getting too sweet a deal?

    Tell me, who else has similar contracts, salary, and status? It's not like she's the Provost.

    Please, it's like the Governors wife working say in the Agriculture department making more money than the commissioner yet she doesn't have anywhere near the same responsibility. I think that would be spotted and commented about right quick.

    In fact, at the time, it WAS commented about. People knew it stank.

    Don't compare her to honest teachers, who work many hours to earn their meager pay.

  • ncblue2 Jun 5, 2009

    superman,

    Who quits 180k job? The people who signed off on hiring her and setting her salary must go first. They need to be fired. No resign and get another job on the same campus. There must have been several people who signed off on her hiring process.

    =================================

    Agreed, but the system is BROKEN ! Already corrupted people will not clean up corruption. Sorry to say, of course !

    You are the SUPERMAN, can you fix it ? :)))

  • rickcccc Jun 5, 2009

    One suggestion, if we are stuck paying her to sit at her desk, I would think there are some floors she could mop or some lawns she could rake/weed. I'm sure her contract states that her job includes "other duties as assigned". Certainly there are departments at NC State that need people to help clean.

  • uncw05 Jun 5, 2009

    If anything, I think that many of them worry less about things like how much their education costs, because their parents pay for it. But I still can not get behind your statement about them not being bothered until things affect them, since many work hard on a daily basis to help people all over the world. And if you think they aren't upset over this, and aren't working on ways to make a difference, you aren't seeing the same kids I am. Unfortunately, there is really nothing they or anyone else can do to speed this up, but I truly believe that all this will pass in the next 1 to 1 1/2 years. I think Mary knows it's over, but it trying to pull a few months more of pay before it all falls apart.

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