Local News

Mary Easley lawyers: NCSU disingenuous about grievance

Posted June 4, 2010 4:25 p.m. EDT
Updated June 4, 2010 10:59 p.m. EDT

— Lawyers for former first lady Mary Easley on Friday fired back at North Carolina State University, saying the university wasn't being truthful about details of Easley's grievance over her firing last year.

Chancellor Randy Woodson said in a statement Thursday that the grievance had been dismissed on procedural grounds because Easley failed to respond to the university's request to schedule a grievance hearing and a meeting before the hearing.

Attorneys Wade Byrd and Luke Largess sent a letter to Randall Ramsey, a member of the N.C. State Board of Trustees, saying that Woodson's statement and information sent to Easley last week "completely distort the actual dispute regarding the grievance."

Easley worked as an executive-in-residence and senior lecturer at the university from 2005 until officials terminated her contract last June. They cited state budget cuts to programs she oversaw as the reason for the termination.

N.C. State doesn't have a grievance procedure for someone whose contract was terminated, Byrd and Largess wrote, and the process "cobbled together" by university officials doesn't meet due-process requirements.

University officials wouldn't allow Easley access to budgetary information and other details of her termination, the attorneys said.

"Mrs. Easley was not let go because of the budget, but she had to prove that fact without access to any evidence," they wrote in the letter.

Questions about her hiring and an 88 percent raise she received in 2008 led to the resignations last year of former Chancellor James Oblinger, former Provost Larry Nielsen and McQueen Campbell, who was chairman of N.C. State's Board of Trustees.

All three denied any wrongdoing, but a series of e-mails the university turned over to a federal grand jury show Campbell communicated with Gov. Mike Easley about a potential job at N.C. State for Mary Easley and then worked with Oblinger and Nielsen to fashion a job for her.

Her hiring and promotion are among the issues the grand jury is investigating regarding the former governor's dealings with friends and contributors while in office.