UNC Chapel Hill Trustees Resume ‘Illegal’ Vote on Marshal Hiring
The UNC-Chapel Hill board meets unexpectedly on Tuesday over its new provost and other senior administrative positions, after a vote last week to approve those hires was discussed. ‘a legal review.
The announcement of the emergency meeting came about two hours before the virtual meeting, which is scheduled for Tuesday at 13 h 30. The two items on the agenda are the examination of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost and executive vice president and chief of staff to Chancellor.
The board could re-vote to endorse Professor Chris Clemens as the university’s rector and executive vice-chancellor in a more transparent way.
Campus administrators approved Clemens’ hiring as the university’s top academic official last Thursday, but they never publicly disclosed the position or candidate they were voting for. Instead, they voted on “action one” and “action items two and three as a package” after deliberating on staff actions behind closed doors.
Trustees expected Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz to announce Clemens as the new executive vice-chancellor and provost after the meeting, but that didn’t happen until six hours later.
This voting process not only lacked transparency, but a local lawyer said it was “unequivocally illegal” and violated North Carolina’s open meetings law, The News & Observer previously reported.
State law prohibits members of a public body from voting on matters by letter or number “for the purpose of preventing those present” at the meeting from knowing what the members are about. vote, unless it is clearly indicated in the agenda.
The agenda included a notice that directors would discuss personnel matters, but did not indicate items to be voted on.
UNC board chairman Dave Boliek argued that it was “not impossible” for people to know that trustees were voting on the provost and said they had no intention to hide anything. The board deliberately did not make the announcement, as Guskiewicz requested time to broadcast a message on campus, Boliek said.
With the resumption of a vote, the board could remove some of the confusion and criticism surrounding last week’s meeting.
But even with a second vote, someone could challenge the council’s action under the open meetings law in court. A judge could declare the initial vote illegal and impose consequences, such as strict compliance with the law on public documents or meetings.