An oversight committee created to ensure that money from the $3.1 billion bond referendum is used effectively received its first members Tuesday.
Senate Speaker Pro Tem Marc Basnight announced three appointments to the Higher Education Bond Oversight Committee. House Speaker Jim Black will appoint three members. The chairman of the Board of Governors and the chairman of the State Board of Community Colleges will each appoint two.
Paul Fulton, CEO of Bassett Furniture and former dean of the Kenan-Flagler Business School, will co-chair the committee.
He will be joined by Ruth Shaw, executive vice president and chief administrator for Duke Energy Corp. and a former East Carolina University instructor, and William Smith, First Union Mid-Atlantic Bank's senior vice president and N.C. Central University Board of Trustee member.
Fulton said he was honored when Basnight offered him the position. "(I was) really interested in the passage of the (bond) issue and felt some obligation to do my part."
Basnight Spokesman Rob Lamme said Fulton, Shaw and Smith were chosen based on their previous work experience. "All three have a lot of experience in the private sector and are familiar with the university and community college system," he said.
Norma Mills, Basnight's general counsel, said the committee will ensure that bond money is spent wisely.
She said the 10-member committee will receive reports from each school and review them to ensure the money is used only for authorized construction.
Mills added that the committee also will make sure construction projects are on schedule. "Every one-day delay in a construction project costs half a million dollars of the $3.1 billion bond money."
Mills said any delays or unnecessary loss of money would mean some construction projects would not be finished.
Jeff Davies, UNC vice president for finance, echoed Mills, saying the committee will have its work cut out.
"One of the biggest challenges will be reviewing reports from the colleges and universities," he said. "(Then the committee) can assess the specific projects the $3.1 billion bond needs to accomplish."
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