State legislative leaders recently passed on putting an end to the practice of paying UNC administrators all or part of their administrative salaries as they transitioned back into the faculty.
A provision in the House's version of the budget would have largely prevented anyone in state government from holding on to a higher salary as they moved into a lesser position. The Senate's budget did not have the provision, and when both sides negotiated a final budget that passed last week, the provision was replaced with a study of the practice, Dan Kane reports.
"It was agreed upon by all of us that we would not go forward, and the study would be a good thing," said Senate Majority Leader Tony Rand, a Fayetteville Democrat.
House Minority Leader Paul Stam, an Apex Republican, and Rep. Nelson Dollar, a Cary Republican, chastised budget writers on Monday for dropping the provision. Both cited The News & Observer report on Sunday showing that these transitional payments had cost the state more than $8 million over the past five years.
More after the jump.
In some cases, administrators received leaves of several months or more to prepare for a return to the faculty, only to retire, resign or be forced out after a short stint as a professor.
"I think there's a huge missed opportunity," Dollar said.
Rep. Mickey Michaux, a Durham Democrat and the House's chief budget writer, said he didn't recall agreeing to dropping the provision during budget negotiations. But he conceded it may have been removed as budget talks progressed.
Rand said the N&O report indicated there are problems with the way the transition payments are handled, but he wanted the study conducted to draw a clearer picture as to what to do next. The UNC Board of Governors is scheduled to take up the issue at its meetings this week, and UNC President Erskine Bowles has recommended scaling back the transition payments and leaves.