Embattled state Higher Education president Kennedy resigns

Hartford – Robert A. Kennedy, the embattled president of the state Board of Regents for Higher Education, announced his immediate resignation this morning.

Several state lawmakers had called for Kennedy’s departure following revelations this week that he gave more than $250,000 in secret and unauthorized salary raises to his staff. He also admitted to spending six weeks at his summer home in Minnesota rather than in professional development.

Kennedy, a former president of the University of Maine, was hand-picked by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy last year for the $340,000-a-year job of heading the state’s reorganized higher education system. The board oversees the state’s 12 community colleges, four state universities and Charter Oak State College.

Kennedy admitted Tuesday that the raises – now rescinded -- were a mistake.

Malloy said today that Kennedy’s decision to leave was the right one.

“It’s unfortunate that the events of the past week have damaged the credibility of the central office, but they have.  And that credibility needs to be restored as quickly as possible,” Malloy said in a statement.

The raises were first disclosed Monday by The Connecticut Mirror.

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