Editorial: N.C. State Must Explain 88 Percent Pay Hike

This story was written by Editorial Board, Technician

The University is reviewing more than 800 employee contracts after the outcry over Mary Easley's 88 percent raise. According to his statement, Chancellor James Oblinger is initiating this review to fit with the UNC General Administration's policy requiring Board of Governors' approval of contracts that include a raise of more than 15 percent and $10,000.

Oblinger, Provost Larry Nielsen and the University's Board of Trustees say that these reviews were necessitated after finding that their interpretation of the salary rules was inconsistent with the UNC system's. The administrators and the board also stand behind their decision regarding Easley's position at the University.

This is ridiculous. Students want to know where their tuition is going. It's time for the chancellor, the provost and the rest of the administration to start talking to students when making decisions.

The system has rules governing contracts for a reason - to prevent unwarranted raises and to ensure that payroll decisions are based on merit. To imply that there was a misinterpretation of the rules is to say that the rules are not the final authority and administrators may ignore or alter regulations as they see fit.

Students are expected to follow the rules. Will the administration do the same?

At the very least, the chancellor, the provost and the board should have considered the outcry Easley's dramatic pay increase would cause and submitted it for approval. Contract pay raises that border on the 15 percent and $10,000 dollar mark are one thing - an 88 percent, $79,700 raise clearly requires greater scrutiny.

The chancellor, provost and Board of Trustees should not stand united behind their defense of Easley's pay raise - they should stand united with the rules and detail why Easley received such a large salary increase.

Regardless of the assurances of the chancellor, the provost and the Board of Trustees, the fact that NCSU is reviewing contracts to determine if they needed approval is intolerable. The University needs to ask for clarification if the rules seem ambiguous and push for necessary reform. The administration must also institute transparent, accountable oversight for all NCSU contracts subject to these rules.