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Regents extend Jackson’s contract

Profile image for By Jenna Duncan
By Jenna Duncan

DALLAS — University of North Texas System Chancellor Lee Jackson will remain in the position until at least 2017, after the university’s Board of Regents unanimously approved a contract extension Friday.

The action shows the board’s continued confidence in Jackson, despite the financial challenges the system and the flagship campus in Denton are still facing, chairman Brint Ryan said.

“I personally have found him to be a very capable leader, and he’s following the direction of the board and all of the new things that we want to do to change the system, to change UNT to make it better,” Ryan said after the vote.

Jackson has overseen the financial changes underway at the Denton campus and system since accounting problems were uncovered earlier this year.

UNT used $83.5 million in state money it should not have for benefits and salaries over a 10-year span, and overstated its finances in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

The system has hired consultants to help sort out the issues. Those consultants have been working with finance employees since June to fix the problems.

Jackson said the unanimous vote shows that the board likes how he and new leadership have been handling the financial woes.

“I lead a very good team of officials now across our three campuses and the system, and I appreciate the board’s confidence in me and the team,” he said. “We are addressing our challenges, but also creating new opportunities on our three campuses and fulfilling our service mission to the region.”

The contract extension has not yet been finalized, and Ryan will carry out adding this amendment to Jackson’s contract.

In addition, the board also voted unanimously to extend the contract with Michelle Finley, who has served as the chief internal auditor for the past year.

Her contract was set up to be renewed annually instead of every three years like Jackson’s, Ryan said.

The decisions were made after nearly six hours of deliberation in executive session.

Both Jackson and Finley also had evaluations with the board during the session, as did UNT President Neal Smatresk and UNT Health Science Center President Michael Williams.

JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @JennaFDuncan.