Divided NIC board gives chairman blanket authority over lawsuits

Last month, North Idaho College trustees voted unanimously to appoint a new chairman.

Mike Waggoner

Wednesday night, these same trustees bickered over Mike Waggoner’s authority.

On a 3-2 vote, the board granted Waggoner blanket decisionmaking powers over litigation, the Coeur d’Alene Press reported.

The divided vote — and the heated board debate — came just two days before NIC will find itself in court, fighting against its president. Nick Swayne sued the college in November, demanding a copy of an investigative report. Swayne says the report outlines allegations made against him by a former NIC employee, Kaye Thornbrugh of the Coeur d’Alene Press has reported.

Waggoner confirmed that Wednesday’s board action was related to Swayne’s lawsuit, Thornbrugh reported.

Wednesday’s vote split the NIC board along familiar ideological lines. The board’s conservative bloc — Todd Banducci, Greg McKenzie and Waggoner — supported the move. Tarie Zimmerman and Brad Corkill opposed it, Thornbrugh reported.

“The day is going to come when somebody in this community will have had a gut full of this silliness and there will be a lawsuit filed,” Corkill said, according to Thornbrugh’s story on the meeting.

Waggoner argued that the change will eliminate the need for trustees to convene to discuss lawsuits, Thornbrugh reported.  “We have two opinions here and counsel is telling us it’s fine and we’ve done it before and having too many people involved is unworkable.”

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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