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Amy Dalrymple, Forum News Service, Published March 04 2010

Separation pay more than $66,000 for vice president who quit

North Dakota State University will pay John Adams’ salary and benefits for four months after his Wednesday resignation, amounting to about $66,325.

The vice president’s separation agreement had not been finalized Wednesday, but NDSU provided an estimate of the terms.

Adams will be paid an additional four months’ salary before taxes are taken out, said Laura McDaniel, assistant vice president of public relations. His annual salary was $187,190.

The health insurance for the four months amounts to $3,928, McDaniel said.

Adams says in his resignation letter that he and President Dick Hanson agreed in a Feb. 25 meeting that Adams would be paid through June 30.

“That’s a procedure that I try to use whenever I can with employees to give them a start on what’s happening next in his life,” Hanson said in an interview Wednesday.

Hanson said he did not ask Adams to resign.

Pat Seaworth, attorney for the state Board of Higher Education, said separation pay is discretionary and there are no board guidelines for such agreements.

“It depends on the circumstances,” Seaworth said. “Sometimes it is done because it is in the best interest of both parties to do something.”

This year NDSU has put a hold on some spending in response to a $2.5 million budget shortfall. That included a temporary hiring freeze of many faculty and staff positions.

Hanson said they will not be “dipping into anybody else’s money” to cover the cost of the separation pay.

“As long as we can be responsible that way, then I feel OK about that,” Hanson said.

Broc Lietz, who was appointed interim vice president for finance and administration, will be paid $160,000, up from the $134,952 he was earning.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Amy Dalrymple at (701) 241-5590