Your recent editorial (“Our View: UMaine System once again fails to be transparent,” Sept. 6) questioned whether the terms of the UMS settlement with Dr. Michael Laliberte, following the failed University of Maine at Augusta presidential search, are being met. The UMS board of trustees understands the ongoing frustrations expressed in the press and by members of the UMA community and others.

We are eager to provide whatever transparency we can, given the important legal protections governing the confidentiality of records related to the settlement agreement. UMS staff have received regular reports from Dr. Laliberte documenting his efforts to find new employment.

In our capacity as fiduciaries of the University of Maine System, the board of trustees independently reviewed those reports to assess Dr. Laliberte’s compliance with the requirement that he seek employment. We are keenly interested in his success, recognizing that his employment would reduce or eliminate UMS’ continuing obligation to make payments to him. We have completed that review and have found significant evidence of job searches and the results of those job searches; and substantiation that Dr. Laliberte did not receive compensation for a short consulting opportunity. We are aware that volunteer work assists unemployed job seekers to remain active and increase their positive visibility and marketability. We have seen no evidence that Dr. Laliberte’s consulting was more than that.

We concluded that Dr. Laliberte has documented an ongoing, good-faith effort to meet his obligations under the terms of the settlement agreement.

The board takes very seriously our role as stewards of public dollars and public trust in the University of Maine System. We conducted this review guided by that responsibility. We represent the public in all our work. Based on guidance from counsel, we cannot release confidential records related to Dr. Laliberte’s job search. And releasing such information could compromise Dr. Laliberte’s job search, which is neither in his interest nor ours. We have diligently monitored the implementation of the agreement with Dr. Laliberte and we will continue to oversee his compliance with these conditions.


Trish Riley

chair of the University of Maine Board of Trustees

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