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Ousted elections board chair heading search for next UNC System President

The search for the next UNC system president has a new leader — and for North Carolina politicos, it’s a familiar name.

Kim Strach, former executive director of the NC Board of Elections, will head the search for the next UNC System President

Kim Strach, the former executive director of the N.C. State Board of Elections, was announced as director of the UNC System Presidential Search Committee late last week.

Strach was controversially ousted from her position with the board of elections in May in a 3-2 party line vote. The board’s two Republicans argued for keeping Strach, who had served the board of elections for 19 years and worked as its executive director since 2013.

The UNC System Presidential Search Committee, created by the GOP dominated UNC Board of Governors, has hired Strach for $15,000 a month — a bump from the just over $110,000 she made as executive director of the state board of elections.

“Kim is the perfect choice to serve as director, due to her outstanding record of professional service of nearly two decades at the N.C. State Board of Elections, her integrity and her exemplary professional reputation,” said committee co-chairs Randy Ramsey and Wendy Murphy in a joint statement on the hire.

Strach thanked the committee for the opportunity in a prepared statement.

“I am confident that this committee will discover the perfect candidate to lead the UNC System as President,” Strach said.

Dr. Bill Roper was chosen as Interim UNC System President since late last year, after Margaret Spellings resigned her position after prolonged tensions with the UNC board of governors.

The UNC system has since lost several chancellors amid political tensions and personality conflicts with the board, including UNC-Chapel Hill’s Carol Folt and East Carolina University’s Cecil Staton.

Earlier this year Barmak Nassirian, the director of Federal Relations and Policy Analysis at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, told Policy Watch the atmosphere created by the high profile exits and public battles may make it difficult to find high quality candidates for leadership positions across the system.

“There are seemingly irreconcilable differences between the folks charged with governing the operation and the campus communities and the poor souls charged with running the operation,” he said. “That makes it a very dangerous mission for anybody to step in. Who would want to leave a workable arrangement to attempt to play Solomon? How do you bridge that gap? It strains credulity to imagine who would want to step into this except for a partisan for one side.”

The UNC Board of Governors also named co-chairs and members to serve on both the Presidential Search Committee and the Presidential Assessment and Advisory Committee last week. They are:

Presidential Search Committee

  • Wendy Murphy (Co-Chair)
  • Randy Ramsey (Co-Chair)
  • Darrell Allison
  • Kellie Hunt Blue
  • Rob Bryan
  • Phil Byers
  • Carolyn Coward

Presidential Assessment and Advisory Committee

  • Anna Nelson (Co-Chair)
  • Temple Sloan (Co-Chair)
  • Pearl Burris-Floyd
  • Leo Daughtry
  • Tom Fetzer
  • Alex Mitchell
  • Mike Williford
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