UH Manoa chancellor claims former AD Donovan was not demoted - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

UH Manoa chancellor claims former AD Donovan was not demoted

UH Manoa chancellor claims former AD Donovan was not demoted

Rep. K. Mark Takai Rep. K. Mark Takai
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

University of Hawaii Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple claimed Monday that Jim Donovan has not been demoted even though he lost his title as UH athletics director and his salary will be cut from $240,000 to $200,600 next year.

An internal investigation into the failed Stevie Wonder concert cleared Donovan of wrongdoing, Apple said, but the probe by a Honolulu law firm is not complete so UH has not released its findings. 

Donovan has transferred to a newly-created communications job for which the UH is still trying to solidify a title, drawing his salary from a couple of re purposed vacant positions in the chancellor's office, after he had been on paid leave for one month. 

"I'll be working on marketing, community relations and branding initiatives for the University of Hawaii at Manoa," Donovan said at a news conference Monday afternoon at Hawaii Hall, where Donovan began work Monday in his new job that reports directly to Apple. 

"I was pleased when I learned from the administration that I had been cleared of any wrongdoing, in regards to the concert, both from the FBI investigation and the external investigation.  I think everybody here knows that I bleed green.  I'm a two-time graduate of the University of Hawaii, I love UH," Donovan added. 

Apple wouldn't say why he removed Donovan as athletics director and re-assigned him to a job in his office in what Apple claims is a "lateral move."  

"Both Jim and I feel that it's time to move forward in new areas.  What more does Jim have to accomplish as athletic director when we see these tremendous opportunities moving forward as Manoa reaching out to the community," Apple said. 

Sources said Donovan tried to begin negotiations last year to extend his contract that expires in March of 2013, but UH President MRC Greenwood and the Board of Regents declined to begin those discussions. 

Donovan's reinstatement comes after state lawmakers and other UH boosters lobbied UH officials on his behalf. 

"I really felt that he should have been reinstated to his position," said House Speaker Calvin Say, who told Hawaii News Now he called UH regents and other university officials in the past month and told them Donovan should remain athletic director. 

"Jim has the character and integrity of a great man who has contributed.  And his heart is with the university, starting as a football player," Say said. 

State Rep. Mark Takai -- a former UH swimmer and president of the UH Manoa's Letterwinner's club -- wrote Apple on behalf of his organization, also asking that Donovan be reinstated to the athletic director job. 

"He's done a great job for this university, he's done a great job for this state. There's a lot of people that believe in him, and the university basically reassigns him into a position in the chancellor's office. It just doesn't make sense," said Takai. 

Apple denied he was pressured by legislators to find Donovan a good UH position. 

"Absolutely not," Apple said, adding that he met with Donovan three times before the concert problem came up and got to know him before the event fell apart and had to be canceled on July 10. 

Apple said everybody he's spoken to told him Donovan's an "absolute stand-up guy."  

"I've had many different positions since I played (football) here in 1981, in marketing and management and so I look forward to this position going forward.  And I'm a team player and I look forward to being on Chancellor Apple's team," Donovan told reporters. 

Apple said the investigation into the failed concert is still being wrapped up. 

"We maybe lost some money in this deal from the actions of people who were trying to do a good thing.  So we need policies that are stronger, better, more clear," Apple said. 

Sources said Donovan did not want to attend the news briefing but was convinced to show up so he wouldn't look like he was hiding. 

Donovan will continue to collect his athletic director pay of $240,000 a year until his AD contract expires on March 23, 2013.  After that, the UH said his pay will be reduced to $200,600 and the UH Regents will vote on his three-year employment agreement. 

Click HERE to read a letter from the UH Letterwinners Club sent to Chancellor Apple on July 25. Click HERE to read the letter from Chancellor Apple in response to the original letter.

 Related Headline:

  • Donovan loses UH AD job, but remains on payroll after failed concert
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