Trustee calls foul on NIC meeting - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Trustee calls foul on NIC meeting

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Posted: Saturday, April 20, 2013 12:00 am

COEUR d'ALENE - A North Idaho College trustee is questioning the legality of a board meeting held earlier this month, and is calling for a motion passed as a result of that meeting to be rescinded.

Christie Wood has asked that the board members, when they meet next week, consider canceling the motion made by Ron Nilson and seconded by Todd Banducci.

The item is on the agenda for the board's regular monthly meeting on Wednesday.

"We often talk about being open and transparent and this was non-transparent," Wood said. "There was no opportunity for the board to have input."

The meeting in question took place on Saturday, April 6, with three of the trustees on the five-member board in attendance: Nilson, Banducci and Judy Meyer.

A notice that the meeting would occur was posted on NIC's website on April 3, in accordance with the state's open meeting law. The notice stated the meeting would take place in executive session, meaning behind closed doors. The purpose of the meeting - to discuss personnel matters - is one of the few topics Idaho's open meeting law allows government officials to discuss without the public present.

Wood said the meeting was held so Nilson and Banducci, the board's newest trustees, could learn more about faculty members now being considered for tenure.

Tenure at NIC, according to the college's policy, is awarded to full-time faculty members "in recognition of demonstrated proficiency." With tenure comes the "reasonable right to continued employment," unless the faculty member is terminated for cause, which the policy lists as any actions that may be damaging or detrimental to the college or its students. Other cases in which tenured faculty members may be terminated include under the college's reduction in force policy and if the employee voluntarily retires, resigns or abandons his or her position.

Wood, who has been on the NIC board since 2004, said she did not attend the April 6 meeting because she didn't have any questions about the candidates being considered. Wood said that Ken Howard, the trustee who chairs the board, was out of town at the time.

"From what I understand, they spent two hours talking about policy on tenure and sabbaticals," Wood said.

Idaho Code requires that policy discussions occur in public, in open session.

Wood said she learned that during the executive session, Nilson called for a public forum to be held, to discuss the topics.

The minutes of the meeting show that it began at 10 a.m. and at 12:30 p.m., Nilson, Banducci and Meyer moved the meeting from executive session to open session. The minutes state that after a "brief discussion" about holding a public forum, Nilson made a motion to hold a forum in the near future, and Banducci seconded it, so with just three board members present, the motion passed.

"When I found out how that happened, I was very disappointed because that violated open meeting law," Wood said.

Wood said she's concerned because she would have wanted to be part of the policy discussion that took place, and that because it affects people's jobs, it should have taken place in public so the faculty members could attend.

Wood said she asked Nilson to rescind the motion, but he refused. Banducci told her he would think about it, she said.

Nilson could not be reached for comment on Friday, and Banducci told The Press he didn't think it was appropriate to discuss what occurred.

"I'm going to have to withhold comment at this time," Banducci said.

Judy Meyer said she doesn't feel an open meeting violation occurred, but she understands Wood's concerns.

"She wasn't there, and because it was an executive session, I can't discuss it further," Meyer said. "The solution is doing as she's asked, and have all the board members take a look at it."

The North Idaho College Board of Trustees will hold their regular monthly meeting Wednesday at 6 p.m. on the NIC campus, in the Edminster Student Union Building's Lake Coeur d'Alene Room.

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  • concernedcitizen posted at 6:30 am on Tue, Apr 23, 2013.

    concernedcitizen Posts: 2530

    Excellent posts by boohoo2U posted at 4:59 pm on Sun, Apr 21, 2013 and justinian posted at 2:00 pm on Sun, Apr 21, 2013.

  • boohoo2U posted at 9:44 pm on Sun, Apr 21, 2013.

    boohoo2U Posts: 406

    blame mistakes on Judy Meyer - she was the senior member and likely called the meeting to order.
    What friggin fools you rubes are!

  • WhitePine posted at 8:30 pm on Sun, Apr 21, 2013.

    WhitePine Posts: 153

    The meeting was posted as an executive session. Policy and procedure discussions must be held in open session. This was a flagrant violation of the open meeting law. Are the new board members above the law?

  • boohoo2U posted at 4:59 pm on Sun, Apr 21, 2013.

    boohoo2U Posts: 406

    CDA Royalty has been violating Open Meeting laws and participating in Noble Cause Corruption for decades. A couple watchdogs like Gary Ingram brought corruption to light. Corruption persisted when Prosecutor Bill Douglas engaged in email shenanigans rather than defending seniors against assault.
    they are ripe for judgment with a cricket already succumbing. Got to wonder about the future of Sandi's spawn. I doubt they will enjoy the latitude their mother currently enjoys till January.

  • justinian posted at 2:00 pm on Sun, Apr 21, 2013.

    justinian Posts: 318

    Wood, who has been on the NIC board since 2004, said she did not attend the April 6 meeting because she didn't have any questions about the candidates being considered. Wood said that Ken Howard, the trustee who chairs the board, was out of town at the time.

    So the meeting was propertly posted, Cupcake chose not to attend and now she whines. How odd.

    Just sayin'


  • Fralphgob posted at 7:56 am on Sun, Apr 21, 2013.

    Fralphgob Posts: 54

    Excellent post Gary. Precise and clear. Unfortunately there are those that rely on the rule of law only when it suits them. Open meeting laws exist to protect the public from out of control politicians and hold them to account in the public forum. If the law was violated, and it is clear that it was, then those responsible must be taken to task and the violation rectified.

    A strong and honest leader with integrity would admit their mistake and work to repair the damage they have done. Nilson and Banducci will display their character and their belief in the rule of law for all to see in the days ahead through the response they give this issue. Watch carefully CDA.

  • boohoo2U posted at 9:32 pm on Sat, Apr 20, 2013.

    boohoo2U Posts: 406

    a whiny moment for rubber-stamp Wood. Whaaa!
    Choose wether you want to be a servant or a politician.

  • CHSdad posted at 5:53 pm on Sat, Apr 20, 2013.

    CHSdad Posts: 383

    I don't understand why haven't been complaining about this. Perhaps they are all just away for the weekend.

  • Sunshinegirl posted at 4:23 pm on Sat, Apr 20, 2013.

    Sunshinegirl Posts: 79

    Way to go Ms. Wood. There seems to be a pattern with RR supported candidates that teacher rights be diminished. Not surprising these two would be bringing up the tenure discussion.

    Vox... Nilson and Banducci are NEW board members who were supported by the RRs. Your wish has been granted, but you apparently missed that campaign.

  • PF Idaho Native posted at 2:09 pm on Sat, Apr 20, 2013.

    PF Idaho Native Posts: 10

    So Nilson "refused" to do the right thing? Excellent leaders quickly remedy their errors which Nilson refused to do. I guess that makes Nilson a poor leader. If he doesn't remedy this he's going to find his duff kicked out onto the street as well as into the courthouse.

  • Gary Ingram posted at 10:20 am on Sat, Apr 20, 2013.

    Gary Ingram Posts: 97

    It appears there may have been at least three violations of the Open Meeting Law. The first occurred when they shoehorned an issue into the executive session that is not allowed, a policy discussion. 67-2345 (3) Idaho Code specifically forbids this. A second violation occured when they left executive session and reconvened to a regular session. As the Saturday meeting was a special call for an executive session closed meeting only there is no provision in the law to go into an open session in this circumstance. The third violation occurred when the board discussed and voted on a motion in the aforementioned illegal meeting.

    The Open Meeting Law provides that a complaint can filed filed with the county prosecutor for enforcement or bring action in magistrates' division of the county.

    The Office of the Attorney General has published an Idaho Open Meeting Manual, the latest revision being November 2011. Every member of any governing body would be well advised to become familiar with this publication.

    If there is ever any doubt about being open, always err on the side of openness.

  • WhitePine posted at 9:29 am on Sat, Apr 20, 2013.

    WhitePine Posts: 153

    Didn't Nilson and Banducci promise greater transparency? An illegal executive meeting is far from transparent. Watch the last board meeting. Nilson attacked a report from a consulting firm because it concluded that it would be more cost effective to build a PTE building on the NIC campus. Nilson, of course, wants it next to KTEC. Doesn't matter if it will cost the taxpayers more. Didn't he run as a fiscal conservative?

  • hubba1 posted at 9:19 am on Sat, Apr 20, 2013.

    hubba1 Posts: 23

    Im always concerned when individuals decide they know what is right for the group. From what I understand this is not uncommon for Banducci. Start over and get it right, allowing the minority to decide tenure is not right and needs monitoring by the entire board.

  • mister d posted at 8:13 am on Sat, Apr 20, 2013.

    mister d Posts: 1531

    Based on this article this sure sounds a little fishy. Do the right thing Board - you are not looking so trustworthy. What is the deal with these rich, supposedly trustworthy politicians - seems like none of them can be trusted!

  • wheels1 posted at 6:46 am on Sat, Apr 20, 2013.

    wheels1 Posts: 477

    If only vox and concerned understood the meaning of ' constructive criticism.

  • CHSdad posted at 6:44 am on Sat, Apr 20, 2013.

    CHSdad Posts: 383

    So this is your way of admitting Nilson and Banducci did wrong?

  • concernedcitizen posted at 6:13 am on Sat, Apr 20, 2013.

    concernedcitizen Posts: 2530

    "When I found out how that happened, I was very disappointed because that violated open meeting law," Wood said.

    Oh, and NOW you are worried about transparency and open meeting law? Did you read the lies by the city in the article "PARDON OUR MESS"? You are a hypocrite.

  • voxpop posted at 5:43 am on Sat, Apr 20, 2013.

    voxpop Posts: 738

    I can't believe anyone is surprised. The NIC board is as slimy, sneaky, and furtive as a "govt" body could be. These people are no different than LCDC in operating their little club for the sole benefit of downtown businesses. If the RR republicans want to go after a taxing entity that's out of control they should take on this board and leave the hospital alone. NIC has turned into a money pit and needs to be reined in.

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