NIC: Eventful Special Meeting Leads to Several Big Moves by Trustees

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Yesterday evening the North Idaho College Board of Trustees held an eventful meeting among a large attendance of local citizens. The meeting revolved around several key issues including the curious legal document now being dubbed as the “Macomber Report”, the legality of President Swayne’s employment contract, and the scope of Swayne’s authority for hiring college employees.

The situation is made more complex as the college is trying to navigate it’s way through the accreditation complaint that Christie Wood’s non-profit, Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations, lodged against the college. NWCCU is the accreditation agency for NIC, and is working in tandem to guide the college towards a resolution to preserve its accreditation status.

While the details about the Macomber Report are slim, it is becoming clear that this is Macomber’s legal investigation into the legality of Swayne’s employment with the college.

Legal counsel Art Macomber is asserting serious Open Meeting violations during the period when Swayne was hired for the college cast serious doubts on the efficacy of that contract. The actual details of this document are unknown, and remains to be seen how Macomber substantiates his findings. However, a motion was passed to publicly release the entirety of the unredacted Macomber Report sometime tomorrow between 9:00am – 4:00pm, and will allow the public to finally understand the legal underpinnings guiding the course the Trustee board is steering itself towards.

A large part of the meeting also dealt with Trustee Brad Corkill’s handling of the Macomber Report. The original item on the agenda was to discuss a censure of Corkill for prematurely releasing the Macomber Report to President Swayne and Tara Malek.

Malek is the attorney representing Swayne in the ongoing lawsuit against the college.

Board Chair Greg MacKenzie seemed to want to make a conciliatory gesture, and tabled the censure against Trustee Corkill citing that a censure wouldn’t be in the best interest of the college.

Another agenda topic also covered the legality of President Swayne’s contract. Trustee Todd Banducci successfully passed a motion to ensure that the official stance of the NIC Board of Trustees was that President Swayne’s contract is now considered null & void due to Open Meeting violations back in June 2022. Banducci asserts the Board of Trustees has the right to go beyond typical means of curing Open Meeting violations by nullifying contracts made in those specific meetings. Banducci, and extensibly Macomber, believes this is under the clear auspices of Idaho Statutes regarding Board Governance of a community college.

Lest we go too far: This does not mean that the college can immediately terminate President Swayne’s employment.

Since Judge Cynthia Meyer issued a court order last month to prevent removal of President Swayne: his immediate employment status can’t be changed. As the court case unfolds and the legal dust settles… this court order would expire and President Swayne could find himself face-to-face with a Board of Trustees that has already drawn battle lines against him.

NWCCU will be meeting with the college on Wednesday, and it seems that tonight’s meeting was just a precursor to the regular monthly meeting scheduled that same evening. The meeting venue will be the usual location at the NIC Edminster Student Union Building.