The job former first lady Mary Easley got at N.C. State University - and its fallout - is following former N.C. State University Chancellor James Oblinger across the country.
Oblinger resigned his post amid shifting stories about the severance package given to former Provost Larry Nielsen. Oblinger and Nielsen are key figures in unraveling how Easley, wife of former Gov. Mike Easley, got a $170,000 job at the university.
Oblinger is one of five finalists for the job of president of New Mexico State University. Another finalist is former University of Illinois Chancellor Richard Herman, who admitted to arranging admissions to the university for under-qualified family members of politicians and their donors, according to a report in the Round Up, a student newspaper at New Mexico State.
"I think it is completely ridiculous that the search committee would even entertain the thought of recommending [Herman and Oblinger]," Kevin McNelis, associate professor of accounting, told the Round Up. "I am disgusted the search committee would even think of such candidates."
Administrators who selected the finalists defended the picks to the Las Cruces Sun-News.
Del Archuleta, chairman of the committee, said the panel knew of the allegations against Oblinger and Herman.
"Even with the situation, the committee felt these two should be considered," Archuleta told the paper. "Why? Because they are outstanding. All five of the candidates are really stellar."
More bad poll news for Burr
A new poll has found that 42 percent of North Carolinians say someone else should have U.S. Sen. Richard Burr's seat.
The Elon University Poll found that 19 percent of state residents believe Burr deserves another term in office, according to the survey of 703 state residents that was conducted Oct. 26-29.
The poll also found 29 percent of respondents said they "don't know" whether Burr, a Winston-Salem Republican, deserves re-election.
Burr's approval rating stands at 37 percent, the poll found, while 22 percent of respondents disapprove of the way he is handling his job. Forty-one percent don't know how they feel about his job performance.
Two Democrats, Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and lawyer Kenneth Lewis, have formally entered the race.
The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.
Ask 'em if you've got 'em
Questions about the state's new smoking ban can now be answered online.
The state recently launched the site to help business owners and the public better understand the law that will ban smoking in 24,000 restaurants and bars starting Jan. 2.
"Our goal is to make sure North Carolina's families and businesses have the information they need about the hazards of secondhand smoke and how to implement the new law," Gov. Bev Perdue said in a prepared statement.
Some bar owners, in particular, have expressed confusion over the law.
The site offers data on the hazards of smoking, resources for smokers who want to quit and tools for business operators adapting to the law. A packet of information is scheduled to be mailed out soon to affected businesses.
By staff writers Benjamin Niolet and Mark Johnson.
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