UMS Chancellor Malloy receives one-year contract extension

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Dannel Malloy will continue to serve as chancellor for the University of Maine System (UMS) for at least another year after the Board of Trustees voted to extend his contract during their July 11 meeting.

The board voted unanimously to approve a one-year contract extension. As part of the contract, Malloy will forego a bonus in 2022 and will waive a salary increase beyond a cost of living adjustment in 2023. Malloy’s contract will now run through June 30, 2023.

Trish Riley, chair of the UMS Board of Trustees, read a prepared statement before the board voted on a resolution to approve the contract, which stated the board weighed Malloy’s missteps against the university’s accomplishments over the past year.

Malloy, who has served as chancellor for three years, has faced scrutiny in recent months over failing to disclose that Michael Laliberte, selected by a search committee to serve as president of the University of Maine at Augusta (UMA), received a vote of no confidence in his leadership at the State University of New York at Delhi, where he previously served as president. Retrenchment at the University of Maine at Farmington (UMF) has also been a source of criticism levied against Malloy by faculty and students across the university system.

Malloy received votes of no confidence from the faculty senates at UMA, the University of Southern Maine, and the University of Maine at Farmington. The University of Maine at Machias’ faculty assembly also voted to support the actions taken by the UMA, USM, and UMF and expressed distrust in Malloy’s leadership.

Malloy’s contract was due to expire on June 30, but was extended by “mutual agreement” through July 11, according to testimony given by Riley during a June 16 meeting of the Maine Legislature’s Education and Cultural Affairs Committee. Though the action was inconsistent with university policy, the move was ultimately approved by a vote of the Board of Trustees.

Following the vote, Malloy said he was “humbled” both by the action taken by the board and by the missteps taken in the UMA presidential search.

“I will pledge to all of you to work with all of you to make sure our communications are clear,” said Malloy.

Prior to the board’s vote at the July 11 meeting, Malloy shared recommendations for improvements to UMS employment searches and hiring practices as part of his chancellor’s report. After the votes of no confidence taken against Laliberte came to light, Malloy announced he would order an immediate review of UMS’ employment search practices.

Malloy said during the board’s meeting that the suggested recommendations, made by the university system’s Human Resource Office and the Office of General Counsel, would be referred to committee and are continuing to be worked on in that regard. He said he hopes to have issues with the board resolved by September. 

Malloy emphasized the recommendations as they applied to search for executive positions and the role human resources should play, which he said has not happened in the past. Implementing the recommendations, Malloy said, should ensure events surrounding the recent UMA presidential search “do not come up again.”

The review was conducted between May 13 and June 13 and involved the Human Resource Office and the UMS General Counsel and included the university’s employee handbook, UMS Board of Trustees Policies, UMS Administrative Practice Letters and contracts.

The review found that the UMA presidential search committee did not follow the Board of Trustees’ policy, which requires that the UMS Human Resources Office be consulted in hiring decisions when negative information about candidates comes to light.

The university’s human resource and general counsel offices recommended they be involved in executive search processes and personnel matters when background screenings for finalists are being reviewed. They also recommended that the university’s employee handbook be distributed during orientation for all new employees and that employees be required to sign an acknowledgment form stating they have read and understood the policies. 

Further, the human resources and general counsel offices recommended all executive searches and employment search contracts be made compliant with the board’s policy and include a statement about integrity standards. The offices suggested all applicants be required to submit responses to questions about past investigations involving sexual harrassment, violent or non-violent sexual assault, as well as any other type of misconduct as part of an employment application.

A fourth recommendation suggested university search committees inform candidates that reach the final stages of a search process that the names of all job candidates will become publicly known before being invited to an on-campus interview.

A fifth recommendation suggested search committees conduct public forums that include faculty, staff, students, and the community. 

“A curriculum vitae of each finalist will be made available for public review. After each public forum, the campus community will have the opportunity to provide feedback on each finalist. Campus community feedback will be considered in the final selection process,” according to the recommendation. 

A final recommendation suggested that candidates for presidential and provost positions at UMS be required to declare whether they have ever been the subject of a vote of no confidence.

Photo: University of Maine System

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