The University of Maine System this week will revisit the short-term extension of Chancellor Dannel Malloy’s contract after it failed to follow its own policies earlier this month in adding 11 days to the employment agreement that is set to expire at the end of this month.
The board of trustees’ executive committee will meet Wednesday to formally decide whether to extend Malloy’s contract until July 11. That’s the date of the full board of trustees’ next meeting, when it is expected to determine whether to keep Malloy as chancellor.
The current, three-year contract for Malloy, a former Connecticut governor who began leading the university system in 2019, expires Thursday.
Malloy’s future has been a topic of speculation in recent weeks following the bungled search for a new president of the University of Maine at Augusta that could end up costing the system nearly $700,000 over three years. Faculty from three of the system’s seven universities have cast votes of no confidence in Malloy’s leadership since the search, with faculty at the four others writing letters of support for those votes.
Two weeks ago, Trish Riley, the newly appointed chair of the board of trustees, told Maine lawmakers that the system had extended Malloy’s three-year contract past its June 30 end date into July and that the full board of trustees would take up the contract at its next scheduled meeting.
That short-term extension came after Riley and Malloy reached a “mutual agreement,” relying on legal advice, under which “the chancellor can continue in his duties under the terms of his existing contract until the board takes final action on a new contract, which is anticipated at the July 11 Board meeting,” university system spokesperson Margaret Nagle said at the time.
However, nowhere does the board of trustees’ policies or others that govern the system grant the chair of the board of trustees the authority to unilaterally approve such a change to a chancellor’s contract.
Additionally, no provision in the chancellor’s contract allows a short-term extension by the chair of the board of trustees.
The Bangor Daily News has asked for weeks when the board was expected to take action on Malloy’s contract, given its June 30 expiration and the lack of a scheduled board meeting before that date.
Each time, Nagle said the full board would have to take any action on Malloy’s contract and that the action would happen in a public meeting.
On Monday, in response to questions about the executive committee’s newly scheduled meeting where it will take up the 11-day contract extension, Nagle said the board’s executive committee has the authority to approve such a change to Malloy’s contract.
The nine-member body will meet virtually Wednesday in an executive session and then in a public session to vote on extending Malloy’s contract through the July 11 board meeting.
The executive committee has the authority to act on behalf of the board between scheduled meetings and can approve the change to Malloy’s contract, Nagle said. Then, the full board will decide on a full contract renewal or termination on July 11, she said.
Normally, the trustees’ executive committee has broad authority to act between meetings of the full board.
The executive committee previously met on June 14, two days before Riley’s appearance before lawmakers at which she announced the extension. The committee took no action on Malloy’s contract at that meeting.