NIC Employee Fails to Include Important Information in Meeting Minute Records

NIC employee and board clerk Suzy Scura listens as trustees address concerns over board meeting minutes in the consent agenda at the board's business meeting on Wednesday, January 24, 2024.
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COEUR D’ALENE – During the North Idaho College (NIC) Board of Trustees regular business meeting on Wednesday evening, Trustee Greg McKenzie, who serves as the board secretary and treasurer, raised concerns over inaccuracies and omissions in four separate items on the consent agenda relating to board meeting minutes.

Board meeting minutes document the proceedings of each board meeting and become the official record of the actions, statements, and votes taken during the meeting. The board clerk works directly for the college president and is responsible for the creation of the board meeting minutes, while the board is responsible for reviewing and adopting the meeting minutes. After the board meeting minutes are adopted, they become the official record of the meeting.

Trustee Greg McKenzie introduces his proposed amendments to the October 25, 2023, board meeting minutes.

According to McKenzie, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) reviews the board meeting minutes as part of its process, and it is critical to include the pertinent details of what transpires during the board meetings. McKenzie noted that important votes taken by the board, including executive session votes, were entirely omitted in some cases.

The four board meeting minutes of concern were listed on the consent agenda as:

One of the red-lined amended documents by McKenzie shows that the proposed meeting minutes by board clerk Suzy Scura for October 25, 2023, failed to include substantive information relating to progress made by trustees on board policy updates, a matter directly relating to the accreditation review being conducted by NWCCU.

Red-lined amendments to the October 25, 2023, regular NIC board meeting proposed by Trustee Greg McKenzie shows critical information regarding board policy updates which he suggests should be added to accurately preserve the official record.

“It has been numerous months since this meeting occurred,” stated McKenzie before handing out copies of his red-lined proposal to amend the October 25, 2023, board meeting minutes. “There was a whole discussion portion that pretty much was missed regarding [a] board policy subcommittee update,” McKenzie continued. “It seems like NWCCU reviews minutes and they haven’t been critically aware of all the board work that’s gone on, and I feel this does a little better to document that.”

After discussion by the board and Swayne concerning the correct process for reviewing the proposed red-lined amended documents by McKenzie, all four items of concern were removed from the consent agenda and postponed until the next regular business meeting. It is possible the current red-lined amended documents will be revised further before they are submitted to the president’s office to be included in the February board packet.

According to sources at the college, the current board clerk Suzy Scura was hired by NIC President Nick Swayne, replacing the previous board clerk Shannon Goodrich. Goodrich had held the position under previous administrations, including former president Rick MacLennan. While Goodrich was board clerk, the position also included functioning as the executive assistant to the president as part of the president’s cabinet. Currently, the interim executive assistant is Kristen Howard, who was also recently hired by Swayne.

During the board meeting, Chair Mike Waggoner announced an agreement has been reached with Dr. Gregory South that will officially end his contract on June 30, 2024. This satisfies one area of concern mentioned by NWCCU regarding the board’s perceived lack of support for the acting college president.

The accreditation review process remains on schedule as representatives of the college will travel to Seattle on February 2, 2024, to meet with NWCCU officials, the college will submit a written report in March, and the next site visit is scheduled in April.

Accreditation timeline posted by North Idaho College on their website. (Captured on January 25, 2024)

Toward the end of the board meeting, the trustees passed a motion in a 3-2 vote to give direction to outside legal counsel to proceed in the resolution of legal matters concerning Swayne’s public records lawsuit against the college. According to Chair Waggoner, the outside legal counsel cannot proceed without authorization from the board.

Trustees Tarie Zimmerman and Brad Corkill opposed giving outside legal counsel direction, and neither Zimmerman nor Corkill would vote to go into executive session to discuss legal matters regarding college personnel issues. State statue authorizes public boards to address personnel issues in executive session, and it takes four out of five trustee votes for the NIC board to enter into an executive session.