Due to the fact that the lawsuit challenging this process has now been dismissed, interviews will be held on Thursday for three vacancies on the board of Northern Idaho College.
The State Board of Education announced a schedule of interviews on Tuesday, the day after the two remaining NIC trustees withdrew from a legal complaint about the State Council interview.
Chairman Todd Banduchi and Trustee Greg Mackenzie filed a lawsuit last week, challenging whether the State Council has the legal authority to fill three vacancies on a five-member council. They argued that the Idaho State Code allows the State Council to fill only one vacancy – enough to have three members on the council and a quorum that would allow trustees to do business.
The district judge refused to issue an interim restraining order to block the State Administration’s plan to fill three vacancies.
On Monday, Banduchi and Mackenzie filed a motion to dismiss their case.
“The judge ruled against our interpretation of the statute,” James Bandel, a trustee’s attorney, said in an email Tuesday. “There was no point in continuing the trial.”
Cost was another issue, Mackenzie said in a separate email Tuesday. Because Attorney General Lawrence Wasden’s office said it might demand payment for legal services, continuing the case was not a “good financial risk,” Mackenzie said.
The change of councils is central to the turmoil at the two-year college. Regional accreditors recently issued a warning to the NIC – warning the school to eliminate the loss of several senior administrators and the deadlock and dysfunction on the board. Loss of accreditation can affect students ’ability to transfer credits for a course and receive government scholarships.
The change of attorney began in January when Michael Barnes resigned over questions about his whereabouts. Trustees Christy Wood and Ken Howard in April announced his resignationafter the four remaining trustees came to a standstill in their attempts to choose a successor to Barnes.
Then the State Council intervened, announcing that it would select three new trustees to work until the November elections.
On Thursday, State Council staff will interview eight finalists, selected Monday from 37 applicants.
Here is the schedule of the interview (all the time Pacific):
Place 1 (place in the board frees Wood)
Place 2 (seat on board frees Howard)
Place 5 (seat on the board vacated by Barnes)
There will be no seats for the public during Thursday’s interview. However, the public can watch interviews at NIC’s Schuler Performing Arts Center, Boswell Hall, 880 W. Garden Ave., or over YouTube NIC channel.
The full State Council will meet on Friday to fill three vacancies. The time of this meeting has not been determined yet.
Check out coverage of State Council meetings this week.
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