Quick recap of the UCA Board meeting in a phone call from John Williams:
President Lu Hardin and Board Chairman Randy Sims both spoke. “Learning experience.” “Transparency.” Etc. They apologized all around for the recent controversies. Trustee Rush Harding also threw in an apology and lauded the press for helping remind the board of public obligatioins.
The Board said it would take future votes in public and would list the specifics of items on which it had deliberated and reached decisions in private.
The Board received a rebuke from Dr. Kurt Boniecki, president of the UCA Faculty Senate, for keeping its proceedings out of public view; for funneling money to Hardin during an economic crisis, and for not paying faculty commensurate with the president relative to comparable schools. He said the president’s pay and faculty pay should be based on peer institutions, not the University of Arkansas and Ole Miss, which Hardin had cited in a letter to the Board asking for a pay increase. Boniecki also objected to the Board’s hurryup of recent cuts in retirement benefits. (At the end of the meeting, the board restored supplemental healthcare payments to retirees over 65 and resolved to continue discussions about post-employment benefits for others.)
The Board took no new actions on Hardin’s pay. They said they’d deal with that at some later date.
As predicted here, it was time to apologize, ask for understanding and move forward.
PS — Something I’d mentioned earlier was confirmed in detail at the Board meeting. Hardin, not three UCA officials named on the memo, wrote what purported to be a legal memo justifying private action and non-disclosure on deferred compensatoin payments for Hardin. He said he wrote the memo, though it was based on consultations with the three administrators. Not good.