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Trustees battle over chairmanship


East Carolina athletics director Jon Gilbert talks to the ECU Board of Trustees about department operations on Thursday.


Ginger Livingston

Friday, July 12, 2019

A member of ECU's Board of Trustees cast the deciding vote for a new chairman on Friday after a nominee tried to block her from participating via telephone, forcing her to travel to the campus to attend the session.

The vote ended with Vern Davenport being elected in a 7-6 vote over Angela Moss, a newly appointed member to the board.

Moss said she didn't think board member Leigh Fanning should be allowed to vote since she was participating via telephone. Moss said that the UNC System Board of Governors doesn't allow members to vote via telephone.

University Attorney Donna Payne said that ECU's board historically has allowed trustees to participate and via telephone. She said the UNC System also sent a memorandum to its member universities recently that said all trustees should be given full opportunity to participate in board matters. However, the memorandum didn't address telephone votes.

The bylaws of ECU's Board of Trustees do not specifically state telephone votes are allowed, Moss said, so the board should rely on Roberts Rules of Order which states voting members should be present.

The board recessed so Payne could do further research.

During that period Fanning, who is a Greenville resident, arrived at the meeting.

Payne said she consulted with Thomas Shanahan, general counsel for the UNC System, and he said Fanning could vote via telephone. Payne said she was now uncomfortable with allowing the telephone vote, but argument was moot since Fanning was present.

Davenport voted for himself, along with Fanning and trustees Max Joyner Jr., Fielding Miller, Bob Plybon, Vince Smith and SGA president Colin Johnson.

Moss voted for herself along with Tom Furr, Phil Lewis, Robert Moore, Jason Poole and Jim Segrave.

Fanning declined an interview request and did not explain why she was participating by telephone. She left the meeting after the vote.

The board unanimously approved Fielding Miller as vice chairman and Vince Smith as secretary.