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Politics

UNC Governors Will Give Lawmakers Details Of Controversial Chancellor Pay Raises

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University of North Carolina
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The University of North Carolina system Board of Governors conceded today to demands from state lawmakers to turn over records from a recent closed-door meeting that gave pay raises to top campus executives.

The university Board of Governors voted to turn over recordings, draft minutes and agendas from a controversial meeting in which chancellors at 12 of the state's 17 campuses raises of up to $70,000.

Several board members, who held most of an Oct. 30 meeting behind closed doors and refused to immediately disclose information on raises they had approved, on Friday said they welcomed review from state lawmakers. David Powers, government affairs director for Reynolds American in Winston-Salem, said proper procedure had been followed.

"I think we should be proud of the outcome of our meeting that day," Powers said.

The decision was made after an attorney representing Senate Leader Phil Berger, a Republican from Eden, filed a request of "all records in the University's posession" regarding the Oct. 30 closed-door meeting.

At Friday's meeting, Joe Knott, an attorney from Raleigh, objected to the request, saying acquiescing to state lawmakers' request would set a "dangerous" precedent and that lawmakers had recently improperly intruded into university system affairs:

Knott said a lawmaker had pressured former Boad Chairman John Fennebresque into selecting a specific candidate for the president of the university system. Knott refused to name the lawmaker or specify the source of his information. Fennebresque, who resigned a week after former U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings was selected as president last month, could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon.

“I am very concerned that the university maintain its independence from the political wing of our government," Knott said. "We just don’t need the university being controlled by the politicians."

Multiple board members, including Marty Kotis, a real estate developer from Greensboro, dismissed Knott's comments as rumors.

"I felt this meeting could've gone very differently if it weren't for those crazy comments," Kotis said.