Panel to look into King's pay package selected

The attorney investigating how United Way of Central Carolinas' CEO was paid $1.2 million in salary and benefits has picked a judge, a chief investment officer, a college president, a leadership consultant, a middle school teacher and another lawyer to help him.

Robert Sink is heading a panel that will study how the board arrived at the pay package for former chief executive Gloria Pace King and suggest improvements to the agency.

Sink, of Charlotte, said the Foundation of the Carolinas has given the group up to $25,000 to pay for “investigative support” and advice from people not on the panel. Panel members will not be paid.

They include:

A. Todd Brown, a partner in the law firm of Hunton & Williams.

Yvonne Evans, resident Superior Court judge.

Jill Flynn, managing director of Flynn-Heath Leadership, a leadership consulting firm.

Henry Lomax Jr., chief investment officer of Crescent Resources.

Thomas Ross, president of Davidson College.

Jane Spainhour, social studies teacher at Concord Middle School.

King was relieved of her duties last week in response to growing public ire over the United Way board's decision to pay her the $1.2million. The controversy now threatens the agency's ongoing campaign and the 91 agencies that depend on United Way for money.

“Together we will work to understand the decision-making process of the organization and what it might do differently to regain and keep the trust of the community,” Sink said in a statement. He said he hopes the group will release its findings to the board and public by year's end.

“Our United Way will be a stronger, better organization when (the panel) delivers its recommendations,” said Mac Everett, the agency's interim president.

The dispute with King centers on a decision by the board's executive committee to add $822,000 to her retirement benefits in 2007. That was more than seven times the $108,000 paid the year before. The board has said the increase was to make up for short payments in previous years.

At first the board defended the pay, but it has since apologized and called the decision a mistake. Since then, three board members, including former chairman Graham Denton, have resigned.