BELFAST — A slew of reforms to bring more accountability to the University of Maine System’s hiring practices will not be approved for at least two more months.

The system’s board of trustees referred the policy recommendations Monday to the board’s Human Resources and Labor Relations Subcommittee for review before the full board votes on them, likely in mid-September.

The proposed changes include requiring candidates for jobs within the UMaine System to disclose whether they have been the subject of no-confidence votes and answer questions about prior allegations of sexual harassment, assault or other misconduct.

Candidates who become finalists for a position within the system would also have their names and résumés shared with the public.

The UMaine System’s human resources office and legal counsel have also requested to be involved in executive searches and any reviews of finalists’ backgrounds.

The suggestions come in response to the failed University of Maine at Augusta presidential search that ended in an agreement to pay Michael R. Laliberte up to $705,000 over three years without working a day for the system.


Laliberte withdrew in May as president of UMA, the system’s third-largest campus, after faculty members voiced concerns that the system chancellor and chair of the search committee knew but did not widely share that Laliberte had been the subject of no-confidence votes by faculty members and students at his former university, the State University of New York at Delhi.

The UMaine System trustees were expected to “consider revision” to the board’s policies that govern hiring practices during their monthly meeting Monday, following the release last week of a draft outlining the recommended changes.

Chancellor Dannel P. Malloy ordered the human resources office and office of general counsel in May to come up with these recommendations as part of an internal review into the system’s employment search practices as faculty anger over the UMA situation fomented.

Board Chair Trish Riley said Monday the Human Resources and Labor Relations Subcommittee is expected to discuss the report at its next meeting, scheduled for Aug. 22. The full board could vote on the changes as early as Sept. 11, the first day of its next regular meeting. 

Meanwhile, the next employment search within the UMaine System is to begin this fall, with the second attempt to find a president for UMA.

“There will be a search this year, and we hope to resolve those issues in September with the board,” Malloy told system trustees Monday. “I’m talking about executive searches and making sure the human resource department is actively engaged in those searches, where they have not been in the past.”


Trustees signaled their faith in Malloy by voting Monday to renew his contract for one year. The deal was set to expire that day, after being extended by two weeks to allow Malloy to stay in office until the meeting.

The report Malloy ordered following the turmoil around the UMA presidential search, titled “UMS Employment Search Process Review Summary,” was tucked into the trustees’ agenda for Monday’s meeting.

In addition to proposing policy changes, human resources and general counsel officials detailed the past employment searches in which the UMaine System used outside hiring consultants and outlined how the UMA search violated rules.

Specifically, the UMA search violated the Employment Background Screening Policy, section 415 of the trustees’ policy manual. That section, last updated in 2013, stipulates that when negative information is brought up about a job finalist, the candidate has the ability to refute the claims, but the “hiring or employing department” must make a decision about the information in consultation with the human resources office.

The report did not blame specific people for failing to discuss the negative information about Laliberte with the system’s human resources office.

Joseph S. Szakas, the interim president of UMA, is to remain at the helm of the Augusta campus until June 30, 2023, and Malloy said Szakas can apply to fill the position permanently, if he chooses.

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