The ASU Board votes to cut ties with its new president.
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -
The Alabama State University Board of Trustees met in a special called meeting Friday afternoon to discuss the future of the new president it placed on paid administrative leave just two months after his arrival.
During the meeting, the board announced that it has come to a mutual agreement with Dr. Joseph Silver to separate. The proposal had just one comment before the board voted on and passed the measure. The vote was 8 for, 1 against and 1 abstention.
"It was something that was mutually agreed that both considered to be in their best interest," said Kenneth Thomas, ASU's General Counsel.
Silver will be paid $685,000 to resign his position. He also enters into an agreement that prohibits either party from disparaging the other. The agreement is effective immediately.
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, who serves as the president of each public university, was in attendance. Bentley, who said Thursday that he would not vote to fire Silver, said of the agreement that it was "time to move on..." and that independent audits of the university's finances will take place as planned. The governor thanked Silver, who was also at the meeting, for his service and explained his disappointment in not being able work with him in the future.
The governor said he would appoint a new search committee to find ASU's next president.
Alabama State issued a statement calling the last month "a difficult period for the University family, Dr. Silver and his family and the community..." but said it did not want to lose sight of its primary mission and goals, to educate students and move the university forward as an institution of higher learning.
Governor Bentley was heckled by several onlookers as he attempted to wrap up the meeting. When Bentley said "we need to focus on students," the crowd of students yelled, "the board is not focused on students." There were also calls from the crowd for the removal of the board.
"I don't feel that the board is making decisions for us students," said Mark Myles, an ASU Sophomore. "We have to live here, we have to eat here, we have to go to school here. It was a lot of stress this past semester because the board is still there and they're not making decisions for the students."
Silver's attorney said there will be cooperation from both sides regarding the audit with a full agreement to be released to the press soon. The attorney said there is concern by his client about the perception of disappointing ASU students.
"He is very, very concerned about the perception that he has," said Dennis Bailey, Silver's attorney. "He has done what he should have done under these circumstances and he is, he's agreed to cooperate fully with any audit that's going forward and he is going to do that. The bottom line is, the board of trustees and Dr. Silver have agreed for that process to keep going regardless of the settlement of this suit."
Silver was placed on paid administrative leave by the executive committee of the board on November 26, 2012. Silver contended that he'd discovered examples of fraud and conflicts of interest and the board moved to fire him after he decided to move forward with the hiring of an independent investigator to look into his claims.
According to the terms of Silver's former contract, he would have been owed more than $1 million, if he had been terminated by the board without cause.
An audit of the university's finances was ordered during a full meeting of the board on November 30. Results of the audit are not yet available.
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