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College director got $71,000, promise of silence with resignation

Posted: Monday, August 13, 2001

WASILLA (AP) -- In resigning as head of the Matanuska-Susitna college this month, Stephen Sylvester collected about $71,000 and a promise from the state university system.

His separation agreement forbids University of Alaska officials from saying anything disparaging about him. In addition, the university has agreed to strike any negative comments about Sylvester's performance from his personnel file if he requests it, according to the eight-page agreement.

The agreement also forbids Sylvester from making disparaging comments about the university.

Sylvester was under investigation because of complaints about his management style and personal behavior when he resigned Aug. 1. The investigation was never completed, university officials said.

Sylvester was hired last July to head the college, which has about 1,500 students. In May he was placed on paid leave pending the investigation.

The search committee that recommended Sylvester for the job in Alaska learned later about problems he had had at Montana State University Northern, where he had served as a professor and dean of the College and Arts and Sciences.

In Montana, 13 of the 24 faculty members Sylvester supervised signed a petition in March 2000 asking that he be removed as dean, according to a report in the university's student newspaper.

Under his agreement with the University of Alaska, Sylvester will get $45,000 for six months of salary, $9,588 for nearly a month's worth of annual leave, $7,500 for moving expenses, $1,250 to pay for packing and shipping his books, $4,184 for six months of medical coverage and about $2,400 to compensate him for what would have been contributed to pension plans.

In addition, the university agreed to refund $1,100 that Sylvester voluntarily contributed to the University of Alaska Foundation, a fund that supports university operations.

Sylvester could not be reached for comment. His home near Palmer has been sold and his phone disconnected.



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