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The Daily Tar Heel

BOG, Broad Call Salary Deal With Ehringhaus 'Indefensible'

"I think it's indefensible -- the cost of it, the terms," UNC-system Board of Governors member Craig Souza said of the $320,000 salary agreement reached between Moeser and Susan Ehringhaus, the University's outgoing general counsel.

Members of the BOG Personnel and Tenure Committee were so incensed by the deal Moeser struck with Ehringhaus that they requested Monday that the UNC-system Office of the President draft guidelines for such negotiations.

Calling Moeser's actions inappropriate, UNC-system President Molly Broad stressed that although no hard-and-fast policy exists for negotiations of the same nature as those made with Ehringhaus, there are implicit standards of fiscal responsibility that already exist within the system.

Broad said that Moeser failed to meet these standards and that he was irresponsible in his negotiations with Ehringhaus.

As compensation for Ehringhaus resigning after Moeser decided to alter her post significantly, the chancellor has agreed to pay her about $320,000 for a 20-month period beginning in January.

Ehringhaus will spend eight of those months on non-University business and the remaining 10 as a nontenured faculty member in the School of Law, where the average salary for a tenured professor is about $136,000.

Moeser has said Ehringhaus will be paid at no cost to the state, but system officials said using a private source for the money does not negate the irresponsibility of granting Ehringhaus such a large sum.

"So long as these are resources that would otherwise be available for other University purposes, the source of the money is immaterial," Broad said.

BOG Chairman Brad Wilson emphasized that whether or not there is any monetary cost to the state, the misuse still reflects poorly on UNC-CH and the entire university system.

"It doesn't change the appearance," Wilson said, adding that though legislators have not spoken directly to him, he has received indications that Moeser's action will increase scrutiny of the UNC system's budget during the upcoming legislative session.

Broad said legislators have been contacting her directly with questions and concerns.

She added that the board thought it was necessary to take swift action -- immediately beginning to draft a policy that will prevent such exorbitant financial agreements in the future.

Committee members said a policy was not drafted previously because Moeser's actions are unprecedented. "It's never been an issue before," said Souza, chairman of the Personnel and Tenure Committee.

The BOG likely will approve the restrictions within several months, but Broad would not comment on whether any action would be taken specifically against Moeser.

She did say, however, that Moeser has admitted to making several poor management choices in the matter.

"It is important to note that he made certain acknowledgements about his actions."

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