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Former Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy under fire for hiring decision at the University of Maine

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy
Chion Wolf

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Faculty at the University of Maine have issued a no-confidence vote in former Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy.

The faculty senate at the University of Maine at Augusta issued no-confidence votes in Malloy, who is now chancellor of the University of Maine System, and in the presidential search that led to the hiring of Michael R. Laliberte to head the Augusta campus.

Malloy knew that Laliberte had been the subject of votes of no confidence at State University of New York at Delhi, and he has acknowledged that he should’ve informed the search committee that hired Laliberte for the new post at the Augusta campus.

Malloy and the chair of the search committee were told of Laliberte’s background by Storbeck Search, a consulting firm that helps identify suitable candidates for jobs in higher education.

Malloy issued another apology and the University of Maine System executive committee also weighed in on Thursday, a day after the faculty senate’s actions. The faculty want to restart the search.

“I understand how serious a concern this is for the university and the system, and I will work with everyone at UMA to restore confidence in me,” Malloy, who served as Connecticut’s governor from 2011 to 2019, said in a statement.

The executive committee said it’s “reviewing what can be done to improve the integrity of UMS presidential searches, as well as the confidence of our university communities in them.”

While at State University of New York at Delhi, there were votes of no confidence in Laliberte’s leadership. Concerns were aired over his management of budgets, his lack of transparency and his enablement of a “culture of disrespect and hostility.”

Laliberte said in message to the University of Maine at Augusta community this week that he was open with the search consultant but he wished he’d brought up the no-confidence vote himself with the search committee.

He said that he was hired for the SUNY job to be a “change agent” and that most people embraced those changes. But he said a small group resistant to change tried to derail his tenure and refused to engage with him.

He said allegations against him were “baseless.”

The SUNY chancellor investigated the claims “and found them to be without merit,” Laliberte wrote.

A Connecticut Public report is included.

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