Subcommittee cuts funding to Mary Easley programs

RALEIGH The action could be considered an attempt to push the former first lady out, but as of now, she isn't going anywhere.

Easley is paid $170,000 a year to work at the university. Among her primary jobs is to head up a public safety leadership center and bring speakers to the school like Bill Clinton as part of the Millennium Seminars series.

Both of those programs may be eliminated. Thursday a State House subcommittee that is working on next year's budget voted to cut funding for both programs.

However, representatives did not eliminate Easley's job itself or her salary.

It's the latest twist in a saga that has seen numerous calls from high-ranking officials from the former first lady to step down.

"It would be in the best interest of NC State University if Mary Easley would resign," NC State Chancellor James Oblinger said.

Questions have swirled over how and why she was hired at NC State in 2005 and about an 88 percent pay raise she got last year. She has not talked about those issues, but her attorney has.

"We believe that the university should continue to keep its promise to Mary Easley," Attorney Marvin Schiller said..

Now, as a federal investigation into how she was hired and her salary increase continues, she may have very little work left to do at NC State.

Thirteen House subcommittee members voted on the issue to cut funding to Easley-led programs. The full committee is expected to present its budget next week.

At that time, we will see if funding for the programs make it.

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