Wednesday, July 24, 2024

EDITORIAL: Latest bad decision could kill NIC

| August 27, 2023 1:00 AM

There’s one thing you can count on from the North Idaho College Board of Trustees majority.

Given the opportunity, Greg McKenzie, Todd Banducci and Mike Waggoner will always make the wrong decision.

Points for consistency? Not in this game, where NIC’s very existence is at stake. Because of the latest wrong decision, a temporary death sentence reprieve might now be forfeit.

The same trio that has brought the college to the brink of accreditation extinction — accreditation being the air the college breathes, the water it drinks — was given a choice between hiring a regional law firm with extensive experience in the higher education field, or hiring an unqualified political ally with no experience in the higher education field.

McKenzie, Waggoner and Banducci did not pick Choice A.

They didn’t go for Choice F, either.

They doubled down on the art of bad decision-making, introducing Choice X — not only hiring Choice F, D. Colton Boyles, but also retaining $400 an hour attorney Art Macomber.

These same trustees have already spent many thousands of dollars in nine months on Macomber’s advice, with this to show for all their teamwork: lost lawsuits, skyrocketing insurance rates, mass exodus of qualified personnel, musical chairs at the college’s most important leadership position, huge losses of financial support from its foundation, and votes of no confidence from every campus quarter.

No wonder NIC’s accrediting agency, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, has demanded a dramatic course correction. But that’s not what they’re getting.

This latest decision on legal counsel is likely to send CPR units rushing to NWCCU headquarters in Redmond, Wash. — and possibly a hearse to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

Once again, the Saddest Show on Earth is being brought to you by the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee and its parent organization, the Idaho Freedom Foundation. Together, they are convincing enough voters that a complete lack of experience plus no proof of competence plus a wicked mean streak politically equal sound leadership.

The first question is, can NIC survive long enough for voters to right these wrongs late next year, when the positions held by Banducci, McKenzie and Waggoner are up for election again?

The even larger question, with the KCRCC-blessed, zealot-led Community Library Network on a path of self-destruction and school board and city council elections on the immediate horizon, is: How far are voters willing to let the damage go?