by Max Brantley
Tomorrow's news today. Look to the D-G tomorrow for another University of Central Arkansas story.
It will be about the hiring yesterday of UCA graduate Katie Henry as associate legal counsel, to join Tom Courtway in the, until now, one-man counsel's office.
Henry was a 3.9 summa cum laude graduate of UCA in 2002, I was told. After graduation, she worked a school year as a full-time admissions officer. She was one of the best ever says President Lu Hardin. She decided she wanted to go to law school. At the time, Hardin said, "I told her I'd have a job for her if she ever needed it. She was that good."
Henry got her law degree. She went to work in Fayetteville for a couple of years. UCA decided Courtway had too much work to handle on his own. Hardin didn't post the job opening for a new legal position. It falls into a category where it wasn't required, he said. But he says readily that he had Henry in mind for the job because of her qualifications. He asked her if she'd be interested. She was and she was hired for $70,000. The hire is subject to future ratification of the UCA Board of Trustees.
Oh, I forgot. Henry's mother, Kay Hinkle of Mountain View, is a member of the UCA Board of Trustees. She was not a member when her daughter was hired as an admissions officer and was not a member when Hardin made his offer of future employment. She became a board member in 2004. Hinkle was not present at the May meeting at which the Board voted to accelerate a $300,000 deferred compensation package for Hardin.
Hardin said, given the recent uproar about his bonuses, that some might argue that it would have been better to put off the hiring of Henry for a time. "But we needed help. We knew her. She'd worked here." Hardin said everyone on campus "loved her work ethic and loved her to death."
Hardin added, "I've gotten into a lot of trouble I deserved. This one I don't."