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NC Rural Center board stops ex-president payment

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina nonprofit group designed to help rural communities but whose state funding was cut off after a critical audit has decided not to give a special $242,000 severance to its founding president.

The North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center’s board voted Thursday against giving the payment to Billy Ray Hall, who resigned over the summer.

State Auditor Beth Wood’s office said in July that Hall’s $221,000 salary was unreasonable and the center neither adequately monitored state funds received nor verified job-creation claims. Most center funds are now in state hands.

Acting board Chairman Bill Gibson says the severance decision came after about an hour of discussion. Some legislative leaders called the severance a golden parachute.

Hall’s attorney declined comment because he hadn’t received notice of the board’s decision.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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