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The N.C. State Personnel Commission ordered the Office of State Personnel to conduct a nine-month investigation despite the commission's previous ruling in favor of the University.

On Nov. 8, the commission overturned Judge Sammie Chess' June 21 decision that UNC employee Bobbie Sanders had not received a promotion on the basis of her age and sex.

Lars Nance, the legal adviser for the commission, said some concerns about UNC's hiring processes persist, even though the commission did not find discrimination in the Sanders case.

"(The commission) expressed some form of concern over process and procedure," Nance said. He said the concerns stemmed from several issues, including the fact that supervisors were only partially involved during the hiring process.

Nance said it is not unusual for the commission to order investigations as part of its decision.

Al McSurely, the lawyer representing Sanders in the case, said he approves of the study but said he doubts that the University will follow up on the investigation's findings.

McSurely said the N.C. General Assembly passed a bill that allowed UNC Hospitals to remove its employees from protection of the Office of State Personnel, which investigates employment discrimination complaints. McSurely said he believes the University also is moving in this direction. "If past practices are any basis for what probably will happen, the University's great political power will trump any effort of the state investigative team," he said.

McSurely said he is filing an appeal against the commission for not giving ample consideration of Chess' decision on the Sanders case. "The appeal is on the grounds that they should have accepted the justice who tried the case and saw the University's witnesses squirm," he said.

Officials from the UNC Department of Human Resources, including department director Laurie Charest, did not return phone calls made by The Daily Tar Heel during the week.

Lavonda Van Benthuysen, public information officer for the State Personnel Commission, said representatives of the Office of State Personnel will present the results of the study to the commission when the investigation is complete.

Nance said the results of the investigation might not be all the information required by the commission. He said, "If the commission was unsatisfied, they could ask for more."

The University Editor can be reached at udesk@unc.edu.

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