Local News

UNC board OKs limits on administrator payouts

Posted January 8, 2010 4:01 p.m. EST

— The University of North Carolina Board of Governors on Friday approved a policy limiting payouts to former administrators who retire or move to faculty positions.

UNC President Erskine Bowles has pushed for more controls on so-called "retreat rights," saying they have been too generous and needed more accountability and definition.

The issue gained statewide attention last summer because of a pay deal promised to former North Carolina State University Provost Larry Nielsen, who resigned in May amid questions about his role in the hiring and promotion of Mary Easley, the wife of former Gov. Mike Easley.

Nielsen moved to 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 full provost's salary for six months and then reduced his salary to that of a professor over a three-year period.

The deal, which would have violated a university policy limiting payouts to one year, was voided in June by the N.C. State Board of Trustees, who said they never approved it.

The policy approved by the Board of Governors allows administrators to take a six-month leave before resuming teaching and research as a faculty member. During the leave, they would receive a faculty salary, and the UNC president has the discretion to extend the leave by up to six months.