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Search for NIC trustee continues

Staff Writer | April 7, 2022 1:09 AM

COEUR d’ALENE — The North Idaho College board of trustees failed to select a fifth trustee to fill the vacancy in Zone 5 at a special meeting Wednesday night.

The Zone 5 seat has been vacant since January, when former Trustee Michael Barnes resigned amid concerns that he had established legal residency in South Dakota and was no longer eligible to serve on the board.

Trustees interviewed 10 candidates, asking each person the same set of questions. The full meeting will be viewable on the college’s YouTube channel within 48 hours.

Inquiries focused in part on the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, which issued a letter of action last week sanctioning NIC. The accrediting organization cited persistent issues related to the board of trustees.

After the interviews, trustees had the opportunity to nominate a candidate on whom the board then voted.

To be selected to serve on the board, a candidate needed a simple majority vote — three out of four.

Trustee Greg McKenzie nominated Geoff Newman, a Rathdrum resident who works as a business manager for UPS.

When asked to describe the nature of the NWCCU’s complaint against the college, Newman said he “drew a blank.”

He said he has never attended or remotely viewed a trustee meeting, nor has he attended any NIC events, such as concerts or sports. He also said he was not familiar with NIC’s policies.

Board Chair Todd Banducci voted in favor of Newman, while Trustees Christie Wood and Ken Howard did not.

Banducci nominated Rathdrum resident Nina Beesley, who told the board she homeschooled her five children, two of whom went on to attend community colleges.

Beesley serves on the Planning and Zoning Commission for Rathdrum. She told the board she’s familiar with NIC’s policies and has never attended a college event.

McKenzie voted in favor of Beesley, while Howard and Wood did not.

Howard nominated Pete Broschet of Hauser, who is the director of human resources for Empire Airlines. Broschet said he’s familiar with NIC’s policies and attended the last six or seven board of trustee meetings.

Wood voted in favor of Broschet, adding that she did not wish to nominate anyone else.

McKenzie also put forth Ann Hardt of Rathdrum, a homeschool teacher whose children attended NIC. She said she’s watched some board meetings and read some NIC policies.

Only Banducci voted in favor of Hardt.

With the votes evenly split on each candidate, none emerged as a new trustee.

“I would’ve liked to have gotten our fifth,” McKenzie said after the meeting adjourned. “A lot of people put a lot of time and effort to get this far.”

College attorney Marc Lyons said the trustee selection process will continue. If the current group of candidates choose to remain in the running, the board may reconsider them in the future.

Wood commended the candidates for stepping forward.

“I hope they will bring themselves to remain in consideration,” she said.

The board’s next regular meeting is scheduled for April 27.