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Former ECU Interim Chancellor Dan Gerlach announces new lobbyist position

Dan Gerlach, the embattled former interim chancellor of ECU, has a new gig.

Gerlach will be working for former state Sen. Tom Apodaca’s Raleigh-based Vista Strategies lobbying firm, he confirmed in a tweet Thursday morning.

“It’s an honor to work with Sen. Apodaca,” Gerlach tweeted, along with a link to a Business North Carolina item about his new job. His commitment to excellent public policy to foster a climate for a growing and prosperous NC is strong and unwavering.”

Former ECU Interim Chancellor Dan Gerlach.

Gerlach resigned from his leadership spot at under a cloud last October after video surfaced online of him drinking and dancing with students in local bars — and then stumbling down the street before getting into his car and driving away.

In the ensuing UNC System investigation, Gerlach claimed not to be intoxicated when he drove home. However, he could not correctly remember the evening’s sequence of events and some important details. Some witnesses claimed that he had slurred speech and trouble walking straight.

Gerlach initially defended himself over the incident, which he said was just being open and accessible to students. He later admitted to poor decision making but said he was the target of a those who wanted to keep him from becoming the school’s full-time chancellor. In a later resignation statement, Gerlach took full responsibility.

“As Chancellor, I had the responsibility and the duty to live out the East Carolina Creed to the fullest extent possible,” Gerlach wrote. “The Creed states that ‘members of our academic society exemplify high standards of professional and personal conduct at all times.’ On the night of Wednesday, September 25 and early morning of Thursday, September 26, I did not live up to these standards as well as the UNC System standards that demand excellent judgement and discretion from the campus leaders. I did not model the behavior that we try to teach our students and to uphold ourselves. Upon reflection and discussion, I believe that this shortcoming was significant enough that my resignation is in the best interest of the University.”

“Make no mistake: the responsibility is mine,” Gerlach wrote.  “It is not the press, not the University or system leadership, and not anyone else who put me in this situation. It was I who made the choices that led to this action. There is no one to hold accountable for the situation except me.”

Before his short stint at ECU, Gerlach was president of the non-profit Golden LEAF Foundation from 2008 to 2019. Before that, he was a top fiscal advisor to former Gov. Mike Easley.

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