Oblinger, Easley Gone
"I understand that the University will be making public today the documents that it is providing to the grand jury in connection with the federal investigation," Oblinger wrote. "A handful of those documents - all emails - indicate that I was made aware of Mrs. Easley's potential availability as a faculty member by [NCSU board of trustees chairman] McQueen Campbell in April 2005. I did not recall those communications until reviewing the emails last week. The emails themselves indicate that I referred the issue to the appropriate university officials and they indicate no impropriety in the process in which Mrs. Easley was hired to come to NC State from her previous position at North Carolina Central University at an increase in pay of $1,072.10."
Oblinger, like Nielsen, said the intense scrutiny was the reason he was quitting.
"I am doing so because that is what leaders do when the institutions they lead come under distracting and undue public scrutiny," he wrote in a resignation letter. "This is particularly true for leaders of public institutions like NC State."
Oblinger became chancellor right around the time I graduated from NC State and didn't leave much of an impression in the years that followed, except that he seemed weak and unfocused when compared to his predecessor. So these last few weeks have been revealing in more ways than one.
BOT terminates Easley's contract:
Easley's job title was executive in residence, given when former NCSU Provost Larry Nielsen retooled her post and gave her an 88 percent raise last summer.
The job was actually four part-time roles cobbled together. She was to create and direct a public safety center; run a speakers series, which she started in 2005; coordinate law-related academic programming; and teach half a class each semester.
Documents released today show that the job was orchestrated at the highest levels of state government, and included the direct involvement of then-Gov. Mike Easley.
E-mail messages show the creation of the job was orchestrated in April and May of 2005 by the governor and that her job formation involved the chancellor at N.C. State, James Oblinger, who resigned today; a key trustee, McQueen Campbell, who also has resigned from the board; a senior adviser to Easley who now heads the Golden Leaf Foundation, Dan Gerlach; and an NCSU lobbyist at the time, Andy Willis.