Fired UT advisor Rick O’Donnell gets $70,000 settlement
By MELISSA LUDWIG
The University of Texas System has settled for $70,000 with a former special adviser who threatened to sue after being fired in April, according to a settlement offer released by UT officials.
Rick O’Donnell’s brief employment at UT kicked up a storm of controversy, with observers questioning his $200,000-a-year salary during a hiring freeze, his job description and his attitude toward academic research.
Neither party admits wrongdoing in the agreement. O’Donnell agrees not to sue in exchange for the $70,000 payout and a letter from Gene Powell, chairman of the UT Board of Regents, praising O’Donnell as “professional and hardworking” and saying the furor that led his firing was not his fault.
“Much of what you were hired to do … was, as you know, mischaracterized by some and the subject of controversy that was not of your making, a controversy that deflected attention from the mission of your important work,” Powell wrote in the letter.
O’Donnell started work March 1 as a special adviser reporting directly to the UT Board of Regents. His job was to staff two task forces Powell created on efficiency and blended learning. Read more…