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UA officials defend firing of spokesman.

David Gearhart, chancellor of the University of Arkansas, told reporters last week that he "and many members of the senior team" had lost confidence in the university's chief spokesman, John Diamond, months before Diamond's immediate supervisor, Chris Wyrick, decided to fire him after a particularly rancorous meeting on Aug. 22.

Diamond acknowledged to Arkansas Business that Gearhart had been unhappy with his service as far back as January, when they disagreed over how to respond to media demands for information on a budgeting shortfall in the University Advancement Division.

"There is no question in my mind that the disillusionment that Dave Gearhart had with me had to do with my attempt to follow the [Freedom of Information Act] law and dealing with the media in general," Diamond said. He was contacted by telephone after the briefing held in Gearhart's office in Fayetteville, which included Wyrick and at least six other UA officials.

Prior to the briefing, the UA released correspondence between Wyrick, who took over as vice chancellor for university advancement earlier this year, and Diamond, who remains associate vice chancellor for university relations until his 30-day notice expires on Sept. 22.

In his letters, Wyrick says he had planned to demote Diamond and then terminate his employment at the end of December because "the University's senior leadership had lost faith in you." But Diamond's behavior during and after a meeting on Aug. 22, Wyrick said, made it clear "there is no repairing our working relationship," so he gave Diamond an immediate 30-day notice of termination.

Diamond's four-page letter added much more detail to his troubled relationship with Wyrick, who was promoted April 1 to replace Brad Choate, who was relieved of his duties after overspending his department's budget by millions of dollars.

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Title Annotation:Education; University of Arkansas; John Diamond; promotion of Chris Wyrick
Comment:UA officials defend firing of spokesman.(Education)(University of Arkansas)(John Diamond)(promotion of Chris Wyrick)
Author:Moritz, Gwen
Publication:Arkansas Business
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1U7AR
Date:Sep 2, 2013
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