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CHAPEL HILL — Kimberly Strach, former executive director of the N.C. State Board of Elections, will lead the search for the next UNC System president.

Strach was appointed the director of the search committee charged with finding Margaret Spellings' permanent replacement and interim Dr. Bill Roper's successor. Her appointment was announced Friday, and she began her new role immediately. She'll be paid $15,000 per month.

"I want to thank the committee for appointing me and providing me the opportunity to serve," Strach said. "I am confident that this committee will discover the perfect candidate to lead the UNC System as President."

The UNC Board of Governors also named Wendy Murphy and Randy Ramsey as co-chairs of the presidential search committee.

"Kim is the perfect choice to serve as director, due to her outstanding record of professional service of nearly two decades at the N.C. State Board of Elections, her integrity and her exemplary professional reputation," Ramsey and Murphy said in a joint statement.

Strach, an East Carolina University graduate, worked for the North Carolina Board of Elections for nearly two decades as an elections investigator, deputy director of campaign finance and, most recently, executive director.

Strach was fired as executive director in May after about six years in the position. The News & Observer previously reported that the Democratic majority of the five-member elections board voted to oust her, while the Republicans on the board voted against Strach's replacement.

As executive director, Strach oversaw how all 100 county board of elections in North Carolina ran their elections and followed campaign finance laws. She led the fraud investigation of the 9th District congressional race.

In her new role, Strach will work with the presidential search committee, which will forward candidates to the UNC System board's presidential assessment and advisory committee. Those members also were announced Friday. The committees have not discussed hiring a specific executive search firm to assist or facilitate the process.

The presidential search will be confidential, which has been the case in the past as a way to protect potential candidates. The committees won't release the names of the candidates or finalists, which could include Roper.

The UNC System Board of Governors will appoint the new leader. The new president will oversee 17 campuses across the state, including N.C. A&T and UNCG, that serve nearly 250,000 college and gifted high school students.

Members of the Board of Governors' presidential search committee are Wendy Murphy (co-chair), Randy Ramsey (co-chair), Darrell Allison, Kellie Hunt Blue, Rob Bryan, Phil Byers and Carolyn Coward.

Members of the Board of Governors' presidential assessment and advisory committee are Anna Nelson (co-chair), Temple Sloan (co-chair), Pearl Burris-Floyd, Leo Daughtry, Tom Fetzer, Alex Mitchell and Mike Williford.

A resolution approved in June laid out the search process and said the Board of Governors could hire extra staff to help with its selection. 

Roper, the former CEO of UNC Health Care, has been the system's interim leader since Jan. 1. He took over from former U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, who was forced out after serving just three years of a five-year contract.

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