The board decided Thursday to give the money to Vice Chancellor Susan Price because that would have been the difference between her $155,250 annual salary and the chancellor's salary for the time she served.
Price served from March through the hiring of Mark Heinrich in September. The chancellor's base salary is $250,000 annually.
Gov. Robert Bentley called the $50,796 a reward for a job well done. Board vice president Stephanie Bell expressed concern. She said the board has no policy concerning compensation for interim leaders, and it needs one.