Monday, May 29, 2023

Memo to the next NIC president

| June 17, 2022 1:00 AM

Dear Potential President:

Our beloved North Idaho College is under construction. Please excuse the mess.

As you’re seeing, job finalists, the buildings and grounds are in great shape. But there’s a political and ideological infestation that’s threatening the brain and bones of this fine institution, not unlike what’s happening across multiple levels around the country.

For reasons historians might one day be able to pinpoint but we cannot, public education has developed a target on its back. Locally, the two guys with their hands on the demolition kit are trustees Greg McKenzie and Todd Banducci. Fortunately, the other three-fifths of the board of trustees are conscientious, constructive community members who have the college’s best interests at heart and act like adults.

Of course, you knew this before you agreed to come here for interviews and see for yourself the belligerent, unprofessional conduct of the two-fifths. That minority, backed by the no-holds-barred, no-expense-too-great Kootenai County Republican Central Committee, is confident that the college will be under the full control of Banducci and McKenzie clones.

You’re smart, presidential candidates, or you wouldn’t be here now. You’re weighing the current state of construction — or destruction, depending upon your view — and evaluating whether this job is the stuff of dreams or nightmares.

The nightmares are certain to continue and perhaps expand if the May 17 primary election was any indication. The KCRCC-endorsed local candidates all won, most of them easily, and no seats will be hotter in November than the three now occupied by state appointees John Goedde, David Wold and Pete Broschet. These three, perhaps your greatest allies, might all be on the sideline before you have a chance to catch your new-job breath.

While we would cite diplomatic skill and effectiveness as a communicator near the top of the list of attributes that will help you going forward, experience tells us that the more qualified you are for the presidency, the less likely you’ll be to receive any support from McKenzie and Banducci. But please, don’t drop out. Don’t back down.

That’s exactly what they and their string-pullers in the background are counting on. Their mission has been to drag this process out until after the general election, when they’re confident they can keep or hire a controllable figurehead rather than an effective leader of higher education.

Know that the majority of people in this community are not represented by Banducci, McKenzie or their handlers. If you’re the successful applicant, you’ll receive the unequivocal support not just of a talented, dedicated faculty and staff, but of a community that stands ready to help and support you.

On or around June 22, a 3-2 vote by the board of trustees will culminate this critically important process and chart the course for our college, likely for many years to come. Know that if the job is offered and you accept it, your detractors may be loud but your supporters will be proud.

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