Update: Second woman added to candidate list for ECU trustees
By Ginger Livingston
The Daily Reflector
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
A current ECU trustee who was initially not recommended for reappointment made the list of nominees who will be submitted to the full UNC Board of Governors on Friday.
The board’s Committee on University Governance, meeting today, added Leigh Fanning, an executive with R.A. Jeffreys Distributing Company in Greenville, to the list of nominees.
Others on the list include Thomas P. Furr of Durham, founder and CEO of PatientPay, a payments service provider for specialty care agencies; Phillip A. Lewis of Greenville, cofounder of Carolina Benefit Specialists, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina service provider; and Angela Moss, an ECU alumna and senior director at the UNC Management Company, a nonprofit organization that manages investment services for the University of North Carolina System.
Moss also was a late addition to the list, replacing current trustee Mark Copeland, who was originally nominated for reappointment but whose name was removed from the Board of Governors agenda on Wednesday and replaced with Moss. Fanning was chosen over nominee Troy Dreyfus of Pirate Radio in Greenville.
The changes come in the wake of criticism directed at the Board of Governors for ignoring the slate of candidates put forth by East Carolina University’s Board of Trustees. The governors also were criticized for not including any women among its original nominees, a move that could have potentially left ECU’s board with no women and only one African-American member.
UNC Board of Governors chairman Harry Smith announced the new slate of candidates.
“We are working hard to develop a team that’s focused on the critical mission at ECU that brings diverse views and opinions and commit the time, energy and effort in a healthy, professional manner,” Smith said.
The UNC Board of Governors on Wednesday added a woman to the list of nominees for the ECU Board of Trustee after concerns surfaced about the lack of female representation.
An online version of the University Governance Committee’s agenda now shows Angela Moss, an East Carolina University alumna, is one of four people nominated for a seat on the university governing body.
Her name is being submitted in lieu of current trustee Mark Copeland, who was was listed as a nominee when board materials were released on Monday. A UNC System spokesman said Moss’ name was added to the list on Wednesday.
UNC Board of Governors chairman Harry Smith said he could not discuss the reasons for the change on Wednesday because he was in a meeting. Copeland could not be contacted either by telephone or email.
The change comes after Kieran Shanahan, current chairman of East Carolina University’s Board of Trustees, raised questions about why the Board of Governors ignored the Trustees’ recommendations for the seats and why the governors’ original nominees included no women.
Two of the open seats are currently held by women. The trustees recommended one, Leigh Fanning, be reappointed. The other woman, Deborah Davis, was not eligible for reappointment, having served two terms.
“What does it say to our student population — 58 percent of which are women — that your board slate fails to include any women, and that, if not corrected, there will be zero women on the ECU Board of Trustees?” Shanahan asked in a letter sent Tuesday to the governors’ university governance committee. “What message will this send on recruiting a new chancellor?”
Later in the letter, Shanahan said, “If nothing else, please take into consideration the need for gender diversity for the ECU Board of Trustees and have your committee give a voice to the female population at ECU.”
ECU considered nominating Linda McMahon, administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration and former WWE executive. Her name was inadvertently included on a list of candidates provided to some news outlets Tuesday but was not sent to the governance committee.
“I do think there were some open issues we shared, she serves on President Trump’s cabinet, so there might have been some issues of timing and her availability,” Shanahan said.
Jeannine Manning Hutson of ECU News Services said that because the confirmation process includes an ethics course and a lengthy statement of economic interest, Chancellor Cecil Staton asked that McMahon’s name not be submitted.
“Due to the extensive nature of the confirmation process, which includes an ethics course and a lengthy statement of economic interest and out of respect for Administrator McMahon’s time, Chancellor Staton requested that McMahon’s name would not be submitted as a nominee if she were not going to be considered,” Hutson said.
Hutson said to her knowledge McMahon was never contacted about beginning the confirmation process.
In his Tuesday letter, Shanahan said the Board of Trustees’ nominees were ignored “in toto” or as a whole, even though Copeland was originally among the list of recommended candidates. Shanahan stood by his assessment.
“It’s a complicated answer,” he said. “What they (the governors) ignored was our list, it was never considered through the process. I don’t believe Copeland went through the process. There were two pieces to the process, one, what East Carolina was suppose to do … and what the Board of Governors was suppose to do … sitting down with us, discussing how these candidates would meet (ECU’s) needs.”
Shanahan said he was glad to hear the Board of Governors listened and added a woman to their list.
“We’re delighted the Board of Governors is considering the important issue of diversity. We will have to see what happens,” Shanahan said.
Shanahan said he knows of Moss.
“Without having vetted her, I know she is a loyal and active Pirate and I think she’ll made a wonderful addition to the board. But again I haven’t vetted the slate of the Board of Governors,” Shanahan said.
Moss is a senior director at the UNC Management Company, a nonprofit organization that manages investment services for the University of North Carolina System, “its constituent institutions and their affiliated endowments and foundations.”
Moss is vice chairwoman of the ECU Foundation Board and former chairwoman of the alumni Board and Board of Visitors.
The agenda includes a note stating Moss’ appointment is pending a statement of economic interest review.
The other individuals recommended for appointment to ECU’s Board of Trustees are
■ Thomas P. Furr of Durham, founder and CEO of PatientPay, a payments service provider for specialty care agencies.
■ Phillip A. Lewis of Greenville, cofounder of Carolina Benefit Specialists, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina service provider.
■ Troy Dreyfus of Greenville, cofounder and operator of Pirate Radio 1250 & 930.
The Committee on University Governance is scheduled to review the appointments to ECU and eight other UNC institutions today. The full board will vote Friday on the recommendations.