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No long-term contract for UH head

May 31, 2014
The Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) - The University of Hawaii will not be locked into a long-term contract with its next president, a spokeswoman said.

The Board of Regents is scheduled to discuss the issue Monday during a meeting to decide on the next president. Interim President David Lassner and retired Lt. Gen. Frank Wiercinski are vying for the job that comes with a $375,000 annual salary.

The new president will not have a defined contract that past presidents have had, university spokeswoman Lynne Waters told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser in an email. "It will be continuous and 'at-will' upon a mutually determined start date," she said.

Observers say that arrangement will allow the university to avoid costly contract buyouts. A set contract creates a difficult situation when things don't work out between the university and the president, said Kitty Lagareta, a former Board of Regents chairwoman. She served on the board when UH President Evan Dobelle was terminated and then given a $3.4 million settlement package.

Dobelle was fired just short of his third anniversary. He was hired in 2001 and had a contract that was to run through mid-2008.

Lassner was appointed as interim president in September after M.R.C. Greenwood said she would step down to deal with health problems and spend more time with family. Before the appointment, Lassner was vice president for information technology and chief information officer.

Wiercinski retired after a 34-year Army career, including two years leading the U.S. Army in the Pacific. Some oppose his military background, and some say he doesn't have the qualifications necessary to lead a public education institution.

There have been calls to re-open the search, but the board said doing so would harm the university.



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