Monday, June 24, 2024

New NIC trustees look ahead

Hagadone News Network | May 20, 2022 1:00 AM

COEUR d’ALENE — The newest members of North Idaho College’s Board of Trustees have wasted no time in tackling some of the most pressing issues facing the institution.

“Right now, I think the board is probably more unified than it’s been for a long time,” Chair David Wold said Monday.

At a special meeting last Friday, just a week after the Idaho State Board of Education filled the three vacancies on the board, trustees voted unanimously to make Wold chair.

It was the last action at a brief but productive meeting, where trustees also empowered the presidential search committee to set dates for in-person interviews and voted 3-2 to set the president’s base salary. The new trustees formed the majority of the split vote.

They each told The Press on Monday that swiftly hiring a permanent president is a top priority.

“It’s important to move in a timely manner so we can get some stability at the head of the college,” said Pete Broschet, who was named vice chair at last Friday’s meeting.

Mike Sebaaly, the college’s head wrestling coach, has served as interim president since last fall, following the termination of former NIC President Rick MacLennan.

Hiring a permanent president is one of several recommendations made by NIC’s accrediting organization, which recently sanctioned the college with a warning.

“The new president has to establish a leadership team,” Goedde said.

Wold said the search committee hopes to select finalists within the week. The candidates could be on campus for interviews in early June.

It’s essential to have a president in place before the school year begins, Wold said — and after months of little progress due to a board deadlocked in 2-2 votes, he believes it’s possible now.

“We’re feeling very good,” he said.

Goedde said he thinks the board should pay particular attention to NIC’s finances.

“We may have to self insure,” he said. “If that’s the case, we have to have the wherewithal to do that.”

The board voted unanimously Friday to appeal the decision by NIC’s property-casualty insurer, the Idaho Counties Risk Management Program, not to renew the college’s policy after it expires June 30.

A notice of non-renewal obtained by The Press, dated April 29, gave no specific reasons for non-renewal.

At Friday’s meeting, Trustee Todd Banducci made public copies of ICRMP’s loss run, which showed claim activities for NIC going back to 2017 and totaling $2.4 million.

Labeled “confidential,” the document included some matters that have not been resolved.

Goedde, who objected to Banducci introducing the loss run, told The Press the document is highly confidential and its contents should not have been disclosed.

When ICRMP staff distribute loss runs at meetings with trustees, they pick them up at the end of the meeting.

“It’s that important,” Goedde said.

Wold said he believes all five trustees want what’s best for NIC. He wants the board to cooperate in order to resolve the problems threatening the college’s accreditation.

“Hopefully this board can show the community that it can work together for the best interest of the college,” he said.