United Way board to meet amid pay controversy

The United Way of Central Carolinas’ board will meet tomorrow morning in closed session, possibly to discuss the controversy over its president’s compensation package.

Graham Denton, chairman of the board, said the meeting will be at 7:30 a.m. at the United Way’s South Brevard Street headquarters. The meeting, which will include all members of the board, will be a closed session, with “no staff, no outsiders of any sort” allowed, Denton said. He added that the board includes at least 60 members.

Asked whether the board will discuss President and CEO Gloria Pace King’s compensation, Denton replied: “I’m not going to go into any detail…That sort of takes away from the purpose of having an executive session.”

King’s attorney Bill Diehl said shortly after 12 p.m. that King has “no official notification” of the meeting, so doesn’t plan to attend. "We don't know anything yet, but there's no telling what could happen in the next few hours," he said.

Diehl previously told the Observer that he is negotiating with the board’s attorney to find a solution to the controversy over King’s pay and benefits.

The board added $822,000 to King's retirement benefits last year, a six-fold increase over the $108,000 paid in 2006.

It plans to pay between $450,000 and $500,000 into her retirement account each year for the next three years. King's salary and bonus make her the fourth-highest-paid United Way executive, according to an Observer survey of 32 agencies. Only the United Ways in New York, Detroit and Miami pay more.

The Charlotte board has said the additional retirement payments were needed to make up for short payments in previous years. It has declined to explain why the catch-up payments were needed or say how it set the size of King's pay package.

The agency’s annual campaign begins next week. Donors angry with King’s package or the board’s handling of it threaten to cut into what the United Way hopes to raise for the 91 nonprofit agencies it supports.

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