No golden parachute for Mary Easley

Staff WriterJune 11, 2009 

— Mary Easley won't be getting a fat buyout package from N.C. State University, or even the minimum 30 days of notice normally allowed under university policy.

"It's zero," said interim chancellor Jim Woodward in a news conference Thursday. "It was my decision there will be no additional pay."

Her job and pay ended Wednesday, Woodward said.

University officials called news conference minutes after releasing her termination letter, which Easley received Wednesday.

Woodward elaborated on the reason for firing her — the massive budget cuts under way — that the trustees had cited Monday when they voted to end her five-year, $850,000 contract.

The university, which is facing a potential double-digit cut form the state, decided last week to end the largest part of her work, developing an academic center. Law makers, meanwhile, have voted to end funding for another part of her work.

The provost, Chancellor James Oblinger, and board of trustees chairman have all resigned amidst revelations about the political machinations that led them to hire her in 2005 and then give her an 88 percent raise and new contract last summer.

Woodward, who replaced Oblinger Tuesday after being asked by UNC system President Erskine Bowles, said the politics and controversy had nothing to do with his decision to follow the trustees' wishes and fire her.

The cause was the same thing that has forced the university to lay off 50 employees and will force it to lay off hundreds more before the cutting is done, he said.

The decision had nothing to do with the quality of Easley's work or her competence, he said.

"She is a highly, highly capable person, but the budget cuts mean we will lose many, many capable people," he said.

jay.price@newsobserver.com or 919-829-4526

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