Former board of elections chief will lead UNC system president search

Kim Westbrook Strach, left, executive director of the Bipartisan State Board of Elections & Ethics Enforcement, questions a witness during the second day of a public evidentiary hearing on the 9th congressional district voting irregularities investigation Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019, at the North Carolina State Bar in Raleigh, N.C. North Carolina elections officials looking into ballot fraud in the country's last undecided congressional election are finding that votes were counted days ahead of Election Day in the rural county at the center of disputed results. (Travis Long/The News & Observer via AP, Pool)

CHAPEL HILL — The search for a new president of North Carolina’s public universities is getting direction from the woman who formerly headed how elections are organized, operated and protected.

The University of North Carolina said Friday it hired former state elections director Kim Strach. Spokesman Jason Tyson said she’ll be paid $15,000 a month. That’s more than Strach was paid before being forced out as elections director in May in a political shakeup.

Tyson said he didn’t know if the university’s governing board will also hire a consulting firm to identify and recruit candidates.

Former UNC health care network head William Roper has been the system’s interim head since January. He previously ducked questions about whether he wanted the job permanently.

Roper took over after former U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings resigned.