Joy Sharp May Stay at University of Arkansas After Advancement Debacle

After University of Arkansas officials became aware in June of overspending by the Fayetteville campus’ Advancement Division, the parties deemed responsible saw their jobs change.

Vice Chancellor for Advancement Brad Choate remained on the payroll but ceded day-to-day administration of the department to Chancellor G. David Gearhart. Joy Sharp was reassigned to work in the UA’s human resources department and docked about $30,000 in pay.

Removing Choate and Sharp from budget oversight was one of the ways that Gearhart hoped to fix overspending that grew larger than $3 million in 2011-12 and was on track to grow past $4 million in 2012-13.

Choate, who is still drawing his $350,000 annual salary, has been asked to find other employment before the fiscal year ends June 30.

A tipster tells us that Choate has at least one option for employment as of press time but is continuing to review his options. Either way, he won’t be employed at the UA as of July 1.

What about Sharp, who is in her 38th year with the UA?

Apparently the door isn’t totally closed on her staying employed beyond the end of the fiscal year if UA Human Resources and Sharp are on the same page.

In a memo from Gearhart to Sharp, dated Nov. 16, 2012, the chancellor references “continued employment” beyond June 30, 2013.

Here’s a portion of the document that Arkansas Business obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request:

“After June 30, 2013, your continued employment with the University of Arkansas will be determined by the needs of HR and your satisfactory work performance. A new salary commensurate with the position will be offered at that time should HR desire your continued service. I wish you the best in this new position.”

Follow-up emails to the UA seeking clarification about Sharp’s status beyond the current fiscal year were not immediately returned.

Asked in December about the possibility Sharp could remain employed at the start of the next fiscal year, a UA spokesman replied, “I don’t know.”