North Idaho College Trustees 12/10 Special Meeting Recap
There is a lot of commentary and opinion that could go into the recap of the North Idaho College Trustees Special Meeting on December 10th but I’m going to give you all the bullet point information about the happenings and all the video I took of the meeting room to show you what was happening from my perspective. Here is the link to the YouTube video is you would like to watch the three-hour meeting. If you would prefer to read the live-Telegram of the event, you can go to the Kootenai County Spectator Telegram channel and start here.
As a reminder, here is the agenda:
The meeting hadn’t even started yet before former Coeur d’Alene City Attorney Mike Gridley (of North Idaho Rejects Hate fame) was trying to get the attention of Greg McKenzie, following him around the board room and hovering over him while he was sitting, after being asked to leave him alone multiple times.
The moment the board meeting was called to order, 24 people, led by Teresa Borrenpohl (the same one who spammed all NIC faculty/staff calling on them to incite division), stood up and went to the podium, demanding that they have a chance to speak even though this was a special meeting and public comment is not available at special meetings.
3:12pm: Twelve minutes into the meeting McKenzie had to call a recess to see if security could remove those who were disrupting the meeting. (Erin’s note: I found out later that security told the board that they “don’t have the manpower to remove unruly, disruptive audience members.” Coeur d’Alene Police Department was asked to come to the meeting but CDAPD “informed the chair that they were too busy, on a Saturday afternoon, to provide crowd control. Apparently, they had no reason to be concerned for the safety of the city council members, former city attorney, or other attendees” however has come to every other single NIC board meeting until conservatives had a majority on the board.)
3:25pm: Recess is over. Borrenpohl instructs the standing people to go back to their seats but “please continue reacting.”
3:27pm: Fire alarm was pulled; entire meeting had to be put on recess and the building evacuated until fire department can arrive and clear the alarm. Fire department confirmed that the fire alarm was intentionally pulled from inside the building. CCTV footage yet to be released.
3:51pm: Meeting called to order. First agenda topic: President’s Contract. Crowd yelling and heckling the board so much that they can’t read the email exchange between McKenzie and former interim president Mike Sebaaly. Loudest in the front are: Teresa Borrenpohl, failed democrat candidate Megan Kunz, Crown and Thistle owner/CDA Arts Commission Vice-Chair Jennifer Drake and Deborah Rose, girlfriend to Optional Forms of Government chair Dave Botting.
3:55pm: Jennifer Drakes stands up and yells at board, disrupting the meeting. Walks out.
3:59pm: McKenzie finally gets to the end of the email and Sebaaly declines the offer to temporarily come back to the college, to the applause and shouts from the audience (who hasn’t stopped shouting this entire time but at least now there was applause.) Sebaaly had declined the offer due to the insane negative unnecessary hate against him and stepping back into that position will not be a positive direction for him, his family, or the school who can’t seem to focus on anything but hate towards him.
A 5-minute recess is called. Heckling continues throughout the recess.
4:15pm: Todd Banducci pulls out resume of someone else to invite to be interim temporary president. All we know is that this person was extremely experienced in positions of college leadership. Hecklers yell at them for not saying who they want to invite. Banducci addresses audience that they aren’t saying name because they haven’t asked this person yet and wouldn’t want the same hate spewed on him if he doesn’t want to proceed.
4:20pm: McKenzie calls for another 10 minute recess so Banducci can speak with Macomber about proper way to make motion.
4:28pm: McKenzie calls the meeting to order. There is stuttering and trying to talk over hecklers and have discussion. Zimmerman speaks up for a second about why they can’t have Swayne do what he’s hired to do, to the applause of the crowd. This topic was already covered in the previous meeting about Marc Lyons. Motion is made to offer temporary president position to this unnamed person, motion passes 3-0.
4:45pm: Finally onto agenda item #2: Board of Trustees Support. This topic was added to the agenda by new trustee Mike Waggoner. Saw the need to have an analyst come in and support the board, gather information, analyze data, etc. This would be a voluntary position. Zimmerman asks what challenges does the board have that would warrant putting out a call for a member of the community to volunteer their time. Zimmerman said there were plenty of people with experience in the college that can do that. (Erin’s note: I’m not sure where this discussion topic ended up, there was a lot of confusion and I was in transit to a youth hockey tournament. I will update the website when I know more.)
Shari Williams, Kootenai County Democrat precinct committeeman and Friend of NIC (pictured), stands up and goes to microphone to disrupt meeting. Finally gets taken out of the room.
Agenda item #3: Chain of Command. Right now there is no written policy re: who takes over leadership if the president is unavailable. There is a verbal ask by the president to someone to take over while he is away, but that person can change based on availability or need. Right now Finance Director Sara Garcia and one other person are co-leading while Swayne is on administrative leave. (Technically the president can ask the janitor to take over leadership while he is away if he wanted.) The ask has been made to start the process of writing a policy on who (or choice of people) would take over if the president is unavailable to lead. As predicted, this brought the heckling to another level of sound with Teresa Borrenpohl and others disrupting and loudly yelling that they need to put Swayne back in place. Motion passes 3-0 to start writing the policy.
5:05pm: Final agenda topic: Military Drive Rental Properties. It has come out that Widmyer Corp. is the property management company for the 8 pieces of property that NIC owns on Military Dr; four of those properties are rentable right now. Finance Director Sara Garcia informs the board that the properties are available for a 6 month lease because they were unsure about what the board wanted to do with the properties, so thought better to be short leases. McKenzie seemingly happy with that information and the discussion ends.
5:16pm: Seven minute recess is called for the 4th time.
5:26pm: Meeting back in session. McKenzie motions to move the next meeting, currently scheduled for December 19th, up to December 15th. Until they get the president issue taken care of they need to act fact. Hecklers haven’t stopped this entire meeting but this is one issue that they raise their screams about.
5:31pm: Fire alarm pulled again. Meeting in recess and everyone has to leave. Turns out a new maintenance worker was trying to reset the system and accidently set the alarms off.
5:41pm: Everyone comes back inside the room and meeting is back in session. There’s only about 20 people in the audience now. McKenzie reading out loud the law stating it is a misdemeanor charge to falsely pull a fire alarm.
Going back to the issue of changing the meeting date, Zimmerman says she has a previous engagement and Brad Corkill still isn’t in town. Motion passes to move the meeting to Thursday, December 15, 3-0.
5:58pm: Banducci asks chair to allow Macomber speak for a moment. Macomber goes off on the CDA Trash Press™ stating that they misquoted him in the previous day’s article so that it made him seem like he didn’t care about the college or the people. He set the record straight but unsurprisingly a correction was not added to Sunday’s article.
6:02pm: Meeting finally adjourned.
Chaotic enough for ya?
Stay tuned for my commentary about this meeting and the rest on the next What’s Happening North Idaho.
In the meantime, the CDA Press headline tells a different story than the major events at the meeting. I have put together a comparison of the CDA Press headlines when liberals actually disrupt a meeting versus conservatives are waiting outside of a locked building trying to get into the CDA School District meeting regarding mandatory masks. Anyone remember that one that national media outlets picked up and started calling parents extremists?