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CFCC Trustee Ray Funderburk explains his dissenting vote on President Morton's salary increase

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NHCS YouTube
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Ray Funderburk III at his interview with the New Hanover County School Board on June 2.

Newest Cape Fear Community College Trustee Ray Funderburk III took his seat last Thursday. WHQR spoke with him about his first meeting where he was the lone dissenting vote on President Jim Morton’s 10% raise.

Funderburk said he received appropriate information ahead of time for the trustees' other business — a real estate deal and naming opportunities for the Wilson Center. But that wasn’t the case when it came to the justification for the president’s raise, from around $286,000 to $322,584.

“When I was considering Mr. Morton's salary, I didn't even know how much he made, currently. I was given no packet, nothing to base [it] on. And I'm not going to talk about the discussion in the executive session, but I could not, in good faith, make a decision when I didn't have what I considered all the facts,” said Funderburk.

The college still hasn’t responded to WHQR’s request — sent Friday morning — to confirm Morton’s new salary. However, WECT shared a response they received from CFCC confirming the exact dollar amount.

CFCC also hasn’t clarified why they couldn’t provide the state operating budget summary when it was due to the state office on July 6. State records show they’ve already uploaded the report. CFCC did respond to WECT, saying that "fiscal year-end adjustments are being made."

Before receiving his raise, Morton gave his president’s report to trustees but omitted the usual end-of-year fiscal report, saying the financials “looked wacky.”

None of the trustees asked any further questions.

“First, I had no idea what's required. As far as the budget report is concerned, I knew nothing at that time. Obviously, as a trustee, the most important thing you should be doing is keeping an eye on where the money is going. So yes, I think we should all read and understand the budget,” said Funderburk.

Funderburk also responsed to WHQR’s reporting on the President’s Office and CFCC Trustee Bill Rivenbark showing interest in Funderburk’s competition, former Trustee Robby Collins, being reinstated by the New Hanover County school board.

“Anyone can lobby for who they want, and a lot of organizations want to keep people that are on there. And I don't have any problem with that. I was unanimously selected by the school board, and so I'm not really worried about any threats to my position as Cape Fear Trustee,” said Funderburk.

He said he interviewed to become the New Hanover County school board’s appointee because his family has a long connection to education in the county. His grandfather was superintendent of the NHCS system — and his father was chair of the school board at one point and also taught at Williston for eight years.

As a retired teacher himself, Funderburk said, “I feel it’s part of the family, and I should step up and serve New Hanover County in education.”

Funderburk said his father instilled in him that in a position of leadership “you delegate authority and you maintain responsibility.”

“What that means is people need authority — they can’t be hamstrung. [...] But if you hire someone or appoint someone to do something, you’re giving them authority. You can’t micromanage them, but you retain the responsibility, if they do something, it’s still your responsibility because you hired them or appointed them,” said Funderburk.

“What a board of trustees does is keeps an eye on what goes on and listens to it and makes their decisions. And I’d like to have information so I can make my decisions,” said Funderburk.

Funderburk said he’s looking forward to attending a trustee college tour in August. The next trustee meeting is on September 22nd.

Listen to an extended interview with Ray Funderburk III

Follow all the reporting from WHQR and other media outlets here. (2018-2022)

Watch Funderburk’s June 2, 2022 interview with the New Hanover County School Board.

Rachel is a graduate of UNCW's Master of Public Administration program, specializing in Urban and Regional Policy and Planning. She also received a Master of Education and two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and French Language & Literature from NC State University. She served as WHQR's News Fellow from 2017-2019. Contact her by email: rkeith@whqr.org or on Twitter @RachelKWHQR