UNC Board of Governors meets in closed session, changes chancellor salaries

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – The University of North Carolina Board of Governors met Friday  in Chapel Hill for the first time since Margaret Spellings was named the new president and John Fennebresque resigned from the board.

In a closed session of about two hours, the board met to authorize salary changes for some university chancellors. A spokeswoman for the system said details would not be released until the chancellors had been notified.

Media law attorney Mike Tadych said the move appears to be a violation of the public records law.

“Under the personnel statutes, the university employees, their most recent increase, decrease or change in salary is a matter of public record as it happens.  it appears to have happened and, so, it is a matter of public record,” he said.

Tadych said that in most cases, a vote would be done in open session.

A university spokeswoman said the system’s attorney said the board acted appropriately and will make the information available once the chancellors are notified.

Fennebresque resigned Monday. Spellings was elected president Oct. 23.

Fennebresque’s resignation was effective immediately on Monday and he was not in attendance at Friday’s meeting. The meeting was the first with Vice Chair Lou Bissette presiding over it.

The UNC Board of Governors unanimously adopted a resolution thanking Fennebresque for his work and passion guiding the board. Chair Bissette thanked him but the resolution acknowledged that it’s been a “tumultuous time” on the board.

Fennebresque was instrumental in pushing out President Tom Ross, who will be retiring. Ross spoke briefly Friday and did not address his future plans.

He said Spellings “should be given an opportunity to lead the university system” and congratulated her on being hired.

Asked if he might run for the U.S. Senate, Ross declined to answer directly as he was getting into a car and said he had to leave to get to Winston-Salem.

The next meeting of the UNC Board of Governors is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 11.

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