Friday, July 16, 2004

Dobelle’s termination
date rolled back

The University of Hawaii Board of Regents agreed to push fired school President Evan Dobelle's termination date back three weeks, and hired a prominent attorney to represent the board in mediation.

A brief statement issued by board Chairwoman Patricia Lee following a closed meeting yesterday said the board pushed back Dobelle's effective termination date from next Friday to Aug. 14 "to allow the parties to continue further efforts in mediation."

Attorneys for Dobelle and the regents have been in mediation with former state Attorney General Warren Price III for about two weeks. All sides have said they will not comment until mediation is concluded.

The board had listed several items related to Dobelle's firing on its agenda for yesterday's closed meeting, which would have allowed them to discuss any potential settlement with Dobelle, if one had been reached by then. The board has placed those items on the agenda for a continuation of yesterday's special session on Thursday, Lee said.

The board and the university general counsel's office also hired attorney William McCorriston to join attorney Barry Marr on the regents' legal team.

Dobelle has been on paid administrative leave since the regents unanimously voted on June 15 to fire him "for cause," which has yet to be disclosed.

The following week, Dobelle received a "notice of termination" letter that said his appointment agreement was terminated effective July 23 and that he would be permitted to remain at his official residence, College Hill, until Sept. 21.

Dobelle's attorney L. Richard Fried Jr. said yesterday that he could not comment on the mediation or the board's action.

McCorriston would not say when he was hired, and declined to comment on the mediation. Marr also said he could not comment.

University General Counsel Walter Kirimitsu said his office was looking into whether the university could talk about the hiring of McCorriston and any other attorneys.

Fried and Dobelle are considering a lawsuit against the regents challenging the firing, the manner in which it was conducted and enforcement of a $2.2 million payment for early termination in Dobelle's contract.

Star-Bulletin reporter Craig Gima contributed to this report.

University of Hawaii


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