Wednesday, May 29, 2024

NIC board has new leadership

Staff Writer | May 14, 2022 1:08 AM

COEUR d’ALENE — The North Idaho College board of trustees has new leadership.

In a special meeting Friday night, trustees voted unanimously to appoint David Wold to the position of chair. He replaces Todd Banducci, who remains on the board — and who made the motion to place Wold in the role.

“I’m sure he will do an outstanding job as the chair,” Banducci said.

John Goedde became vice chair, while Pete Broschet replaced Greg McKenzie as secretary/treasurer.

The State Board of Education appointed Wold, Goedde and Broschet to the NIC board last week. They will serve through the November election and the end of the year.

The board voted unanimously 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, states that ICRMP’s decision “is the result of numerous factors including adverse claim development and increasing risk exposures.” The notice gave no specific reasons for non-renewal.

At Friday’s meeting, Banducci made available copies of ICRMP’s incurred losses for NIC between loss years 2017 and 2022. The document was labeled “confidential.”

“That is not public information,” Goedde said, when Banducci introduced the document.

“I’ve made it public,” Banducci said.

NIC was unable to provide a copy of the document Banducci circulated. A photo obtained by The Press was not fully legible but some items could be read. Losses going back to 2017 total $2.4 million.

By far the greatest loss was the January 2021 windstorm, which caused around $1.5 million in damages.

Two losses totaled around $250,000 each — a settlement for the 2021 firing of former NIC President Rick MacLennan and an item from the 2018-19 year labeled “whistleblower, discrimination, retaliation, misconduct.”

In the 2019-20 year, ICRMP appeared to pay around $14,000 and around $10,000 for two separate items labeled “disability discrimination/wrongful termination.”

Most other major losses were related to property damage, including a fire at the collision lab that caused $91,000 in damage.

Trustees also addressed the college’s ongoing search for a permanent president. Mike Sebaaly, the college’s former head wrestling coach, has been serving as interim president since last fall, following MacLennan’s termination.

Broschet will replace former Trustee Ken Howard on the presidential search committee, which the trustees empowered Friday to set dates for interviews with finalists.

The board voted 3-2 to set a base salary for the permanent president of $220,000 to $240,000 per year.

Goedde said that range is in line with what other community colleges in Idaho offer, though Banducci said many Kootenai County residents would be “appalled” to learn that a community college president earned so much.

“I think it’s dangerous to start so high,” Banducci said.

Goedde maintained that such a salary is needed to attract quality candidates, and Broschet offered data indicating the range set is the median for college presidents in the region and state.

“Whoever is hired is going to be stepping into what remains of a toxic environment,” Goedde said. “We’re going to have to pay a premium for that.”