Michael Laliberte speaks at the University of Maine at Augusta in April 2022. Laliberte, who was hired as UMA president and later withdrew from his contract after details of his previous employment surfaced, received $235,000 from UMaine last year and is set to receive payouts over the next two years if he’s still unemployed after actively seeking a new job. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file

AUGUSTA — The former University of Maine at Augusta president who withdrew his contract last year before being on the job a single day will start receiving monthly payments if he continues to be unemployed. 

Those payments would come on top of more than $200,000 already paid out last year to Michael Laliberte by the public university system. 

Laliberte was hired by the University of Maine System in April 2022, but he withdrew his candidacy for UMA after newspaper reporting revealed he had received two votes of no confidence from the State University of New York at Delhi where he served as president until 2022. 

Part of the settlement between Laliberte and the UMaine System was $205,000 plus a housing stipend of $30,000, per his original three-year contract, until 2025. He must show system officials that he is making a “good faith earnest effort” to gain employment. 

Laliberte received the first-year payment in a lump sum of $235,000. As of Saturday, he will receive monthly payments of $19,583 if he continues to prove his unemployment. 

“Dr. Laliberte continues to diligently follow his responsibilities under the agreement, including providing very detailed regular reports of his efforts,” said Tory Ryden, spokesperson for the UMaine System. “UMS has made the payments that it’s responsible for up to this point.” 


The Kennebec Journal this past week filed a Freedom of Access Act request for the most recent report submitted by Laliberte on his employment search efforts. A university official said the document would not be available until around Wednesday of the coming week. 

Under the agreement, university officials now have closer scrutiny than in the previous year about his efforts to find a new job. Laliberte can’t limit his search to positions as a president of another academic institution but has to include other positions such as a provost, dean of students, vice president of student affairs or a business or higher education consultant.

The payments will continue until July 1, 2025, if Laliberte continues to be unemployed, but if he does not provide the university with proof of his attempts, the settlement will be terminated earlier than that. 

If he finds a job that pays less than $235,000, the university system has pledged to pay the difference until the end of the settlement.

If he remains unemployed, it’s possible the university system could be on the hook for as much as some $700,000 over the three-year period because of Laliberte’s failed presidency. 

UMaine System officials announced Laliberte had withdrawn as president of UMA after reporting revealed that information about his prior no-confidence votes was not shared with the full UMA Presidential Search Committee, though it was known and not considered credible by UMaine Chancellor Dannel Malloy.


As a result, the disclosures sparked faculty across the university system to take no-confidence votes in Malloy as chancellor and in the bungled search process that led to Laliberte’s hiring. It also prompted student protests and criticism from legislators.

Despite calls for Malloy’s removal, the UMaine System board of trustees voted unanimously nearly a year ago to extend the chancellor’s contract for another year. That one-year extension was never-the-less a rebuke to Malloy’s missteps, as he received a three-year contract when he began leading the UMaine system in 2019.

UMA, which is the third-largest public university in Maine, hosted a nationwide search for Laliberte’s replacement in November 2022 and in May announced that Jenifer Cushman would take his place on July 1. Cushman comes from Penn State Beaver, part of the Pennsylvania state university system, and brings over 25 years of experience to UMA.  

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story provided the incorrect name for the State University of New York at Delhi. 

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