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  • Writer's pictureErin B.

UPDATE VIDEO: Macomber, Holland & Hart Out as NIC Attorneys

*Updated to include video of Art Macomber's withdrawal as NIC legal counsel.

It was a LONG evening at the North Idaho College regular meeting on Wednesday but the big news of the night was that not only did the board rescind its vote to hire Holland & Hart as NIC counsel, attorney Art Macomber tendered his resignation effective immediately.

At the April 26 regular meeting, the NIC trustees voted to approve Holland & Hart as their general counsel with a June target date. The board had not seen any information about Holland & Hart outside of what President Swayne told them; no fee structure or engagement agreement given before the board voted to approve the firm in a 3-2 split, with McKenzie siding with Zimmerman and Corkill against Banducci and Waggoner. It was to be Macomber’s responsibility to help transition counsel over to Holland & Hart after they officially started in June.

Fast forward to Wednesday when McKenzie made a statement about new information he has received about Holland & Hart that makes him want to change his vote to hire the firm as counsel. McKenzie, along with the rest of the board, has since learned that Holland & Hart is a substantially higher hourly rate, the closest office is located in Boise, and they also represent Kootenai Health so there could potentially be a conflict if NIC ever gets into an argument with Kootenai Health. Holland & Hart states in its letter to the college that if there were ever a conflict between the two organizations, there is a possibility that the college would be without its retained counsel and would have to find another law firm to represent them in that conflict.

H&H Fee Schedule
Note: Art Macomber's hourly rate is $325.

There was a lengthy discussion about what to do in this situation where no law firm has been selected, ultimately the board directed President Swayne to open up an RFQ (Request for Qualifications) to again solicit law firms. The only suggestion for this RFQ was from Banducci when he asked that the law firm selected was somewhere within a couple hours’ drive of CDA.

“Preferably local.”

Once the RFQ directive was made to President Swayne, Art Macomber was given permission to read a statement to the board. In his statement he said that there were violations of Title 6 of Idaho code and his advice to the board was ignored. He states that he had intended to transition legal counsel over to Holland & Hart but with the new directive opening up the RFQ again, ignoring advice to the detriment of the college, Macomber is withdrawing as NIC counsel effective immediately.

Art Macomber’s full statement has been included in the video below.

At the conclusion of his statement, Macomber walks out of a stunned and silent room.

Now that Holland & Hart are out and the RFQ is back open, this is the community’s chance to get permanent, local representation for North Idaho College. Once the RFQ is opened it will be listed on the NIC website here. Please send this information to every attorney and law firm you know in the region so the college can get some solid, permanent representation.

Response to Constituent Groups’ Votes of No Confidence

At the April meeting Greg McKenzie presented a written response to the constituent groups’ votes of no confidence in the board. With board endorsement he added it to this month’s agenda for action to sign, but due to the Banducci attack he was not sure if every trustee would approve of the response.

McKenzie’s assumption was correct; Banducci had a statement to read that included calling out the media for interviewing the attacker and glorifying his message (CDA Trash Press, KXLY, KHQ, etc.) while not publishing Banducci’s own statement about the attack. Banducci proceeded to read his statement (below) and asked the media to publish it. (good luck!)

Todd Banducci Statement on Being Attached by a Former NIC Professor:

While I acknowledge the rights of people to be able to agree to disagree, yesterday’s actions by Mr. Shallbetter crossed the line and are unacceptable. He terrorized and traumatized the individuals working in our building. It is hard to know what the full impact will be on our employees and their families.

I reviewed the interview Mr. Shallbetter gave to KHQ. Clearly, this is a troubled individual who has misrepresented the facts of our encounter.

Violent events in the workplace create a sense of fear and vulnerability for everyone involved.

I appreciate President Swayne’s email to me last night where he shared information to provide greater context. Dr. Swayne wrote, “the reason for his one-year contract had nothing to do with you or the board, or any adverse action, so his actions make no sense to me.”

I hope no one condones Mr. Shallbetter’s targeted violent behavior. Separate from me, his actions harmed many innocent bystanders who were only at work, doing their jobs.

Moving forward, I hope this gentleman gets the helps he needs.

Board Removes Last Vaccine Mandate

With the overdue announcement from the White House stating the C0vid scamdemic is over, North Idaho College trustees removed the last C0vid shot mandate within their power. The Head Start program still had a mandate on policy but after Wednesday’s meeting the program will be clear of any shot mandate.

Although this mandate was lifted, the board had a discussion about other vaccine mandates they did NOT have control over, specifically any outside facility used for training in the nursing programs. President Swayne explained that the college had no control over what those outside facilities mandated – which almost guaranteed that the students were being forced to vaccinate. Those facilities are supposed to keep a 90% employee vaccination rate and, as Swayne explained, kept any religious waivers for their employees instead of allowing students to use an exemption. Swayne said that they are still working to try and get that changed, but as of right now the facilities have full control over what can and cannot be exempted.

Those are the big points of the meeting; the video is not online yet but will be made available on the NIC YouTube channel here:


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