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Lawsuit against NIC settled

Staff Writer | January 7, 2022 1:09 AM

The lawsuit against North Idaho College is over but the community might not have seen the last of ousted President Rick MacLennan.

MacLennan signed a settlement agreement this week for his lawsuit against the college after being fired last fall without cause by the board of trustees.

The lawsuit named NIC as well as trustees Todd Banducci, Greg McKenzie and Michael Barnes as defendants, the three board members who voted for his termination.

Laura Rumpler, chief communications officer for NIC, said Thursday that the settlement covers all parties.

Within the lawsuit, MacLennan sought to be reinstated as college president with compensation for any lost wages and benefits, as well as more than $10,000 for damages.

MacLennan said Thursday he agreed to the disposition of the lawsuit. No specific details were released.

Rumpler said the college expects a copy of an executed court order dismissing the lawsuit soon.

Interim President Michael Sebaaly said the settlement does not pass judgment on the parties or circumstances that led to the lawsuit.

“Putting this matter behind us and concentrating on NIC’s future removes the distraction and disruption of possible prolonged litigation,” Sebaaly said.

MacLennan said that since leaving NIC, he has spent time with family, read and worked on house projects. He said he’s also starting to think about what his next steps will be as he believes he still has value to contribute to the community.

“I’m looking for the right opportunity for me to put whatever I can do to help to work,” he said.

While he doesn’t have anything specific right now, MacLennan said he thinks he’s taken enough time off and is starting to actively look at different opportunities.

He said he cares deeply about North Idaho College and it saddens him to see the college in its current state.

MacLennan said he thought the leadership team showed a remarkable sense of duty and grace throughout everything the college has been through in the last year.

“Their absence, I think, is going to tell a different story perhaps for the future of the college,” MacLennan said. “I hope it goes well.”

Including MacLennan, six college leaders have left NIC since May.

MacLennan said he has much admiration and respect for the people who not only helped him lead the institution, but also trusted and allowed him to be in that position of leadership.

“That value that NIC holds within the community doesn’t happen by chance,” MacLennan said. “It happens because there’s a long history of shoulders that we’re all standing on.”