University of Maine at Augusta President-elect Michael Laliberte speaks April 7, 2022, in Randall Hall on the UMA campus. Laliberte later agreed to step aside from the role after public outcry over the disclosure he received no confidence votes at his former university. He has been getting paid ever since as part of a settlement, despite never having worked a day for the college.  Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file

AUGUSTA — The former president who was hired but never worked a day at the University of Maine at Augusta has received more than $350,000 in severance payments to date, according to university officials. 

The University of Maine System hired Michael Laliberte as president of UMA in April 2022, and after newspaper reporting revealed he received two votes of no confidence from his former role as president at The State University of New York at Delhi, he withdrew his candidacy in May before he was slated to start in August 2022.

As part of his departure, the UMaine System settled a three-year deal of $205,000 per year, plus a $30,000 housing stipend, as long as Laliberte proves a good faith effort in seeking employment. He received a lump sum of $235,000 in June 2022 and started to receive $20,000 monthly payments in July 2023, with proof of his efforts. If Laliberte finds a job that offers less than his $205,000 a year stipend, the UMaine System will pay the difference.  

To date, he has received a total of $372,083 from the University of Maine System with the most recent payment on April 24, according to Samantha Warren, the director of external affairs for the UMaine System, and his most recent job update to the university was made on May 1.

The Kennebec Journal requested a redacted copy of Laliberte’s documentation of his efforts to secure work this week, but was denied by the system’s general counsel under the basis that Laliberte’s employment proof is not a public record.

“Consistent with the System’s past position, the written evidence provided by Dr. Laliberte documenting his good faith efforts to seek employment as required by the settlement are not public records,” Warren said on the system’s reasoning for the denial.


The Kennebec Journal also requested a copy of Laliberte’s job updates last year when it reported Laliberte’s pro bono academic consulting work posted on his LinkedIn page that raised questions about his monthly payout. First Amendment advocates argued against the UMaine System’s view on the basis that Laliberte was never officially an employee, therefore, disclosing his job efforts would not violate personnel laws. 

Laliberte left his former position as president at The State University of New York at Delhi on April 8, a day after The University of Maine at Augusta announced the 14-member presidential search committee chose him for the role. Laliberte received two votes of no confidence from the faculty and students at SUNY Delhi, which Dannel Malloy, chancellor of the UMaine System, admitted that he and the head of the search committee knew about.

An internal review of the search found that officials had violated university policy by not discussing the negative information with the system’s human resources department. 

UMA hired Jenifer Cushman in May 2023 to serve as president of the third-largest university in the UMaine System. Malloy’s contract was renewed this week for two more years despite receiving three votes of no confidence from three UMaine campuses in 2022. 

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