University of Maine System Chancellor Dannel Malloy listens to presentations during the board meeting May 22, 2022 at the Glickman Library at the University of Southern Maine. Credit: Sawyer Loftus / BDN

The University of Maine System has extended the contract of Chancellor Dannel Malloy into July, when system trustees will decide his long-term fate at their next meeting, which is scheduled for July 11.

Malloy’s three-year contract is coming up for renewal on June 30 after faculty at three university campuses cast no-confidence votes in the former Connecticut governor’s leadership.

Those votes followed a bungled search for the University of Maine at Augusta’s next president, which resulted in the chosen candidate backing out before starting the job.

But they have also addressed recent cuts at the University of Maine at Farmington and professors’ objections to increasingly centralized management of the state’s universities that has removed some of their autonomy.

In addition to the three votes of no confidence, professors at the system’s four other universities have issued letters of support for the no-confidence votes.

Trish Riley, chair of the university system’s board of trustees, announced the temporary extension of Malloy’s contract Thursday during a meeting with the Maine Legislature’s education committee.

Malloy has been the focal point of criticism from faculty and students alike for his leadership of the system. But calls for Malloy’s removal from office have increased following the bungled UMA presidential search. 

Negotiations to extend Malloy’s contract have been in the works since May 24, 2021, when the Board of Trustees passed a motion to allow its Chancellor Review Team to negotiate the extension. Malloy makes $350,000 a year.

Trustee Jim Erwin, then the board’s chair, said it was standard practice to address the status of the chancellor’s contract a year before its expiration. He asked for the board’s authorization so the review team could negotiate a contract extension, according to minutes from that meeting. 

The recent no-confidence votes from faculty were not explicit calls for Malloy’s resignation, but they show that professors at the University of Maine at Augusta, the University of Southern Maine and the University of Maine at Farmington are using the primary means available to them to broadcast their disapproval.

The votes followed a search for UMA’s new president during which Malloy and a system trustee never disclosed to the full search committee that the man ultimately hired for the job had himself faced a faculty vote of no confidence at his former institution in New York.

As a result of the failed search, Michael Laliberte voluntarily withdrew before he even started as UMA’s president. The university system, however, could be on the hook for paying him his $205,000 salary and $30,000 housing allowance for the nearly three-year life of his contract, amounting to nearly $700,000.

During the meeting with legislators Thursday, Malloy said he accepts the responsibility for the “bad mistakes made” during the search process. 

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Sawyer Loftus

Sawyer Loftus is an investigative reporter at the Bangor Daily News. A graduate of the University of Vermont, Sawyer grew up in Vermont where he worked for Vermont Public Radio, The Burlington Free Press...