Lame duck board to vote on MCC President contract

CRYSTAL LAKE – McHenry County College trustees are set to consider extending President Vicky Smith’s contract at a special meeting called for Tuesday evening.

The meeting, announced late Friday afternoon, will be one of the last for outgoing MCC board members; it is set for just one week after three new MCC trustees were elected, and a week before they are seated.

“I’m wondering what brought all this on. Why is this not being considered at a regular board meeting?” Trustee-elect Chris Jenner said. “This meeting wasn’t scheduled until after the election results were in. I don’t know what the previous plan was, but it makes me wonder if this was on the radar before.”

Two incumbents – Carol Larson and Barbara Walters – lost their seats on the MCC board after a contentious election amid growing public discontent over the college’s planned expansion. A third trustee, Dennis Adams, did not seek re-election.

The winners of Tuesday’s election – Jenner, Molly Walsh and Tom Wilbeck – will be seated April 25 after the final meeting of the outgoing trustees.

Before they go, they will consider extending Smith’s agreement through 2015. In May, the MCC board unanimously extended her agreement by a year to June 30, 2014.

She was hired with a three-year contract in June 2010 at a starting annual salary of $195,000. Her base pay in fiscal 2012 was $200,850, according to the Illinois Community College Board.

When reached Sunday, Trustee Cynthia Kisser said the board had until May 1 to decide the fate of the president’s contract, and that Smith’s evaluation process began in March. So, Kisser said, whether it was considered at Tuesday’s special meeting or April 25, the board would have considered it before outgoing members left.

Furthermore, Kisser argued, because they had worked with her, the sitting trustees have the best knowledge of Smith’s performance.

“The evaluation process was done by the current board,” Kisser said. “The current board is the employer of the president. They are in the best position to know what her qualifications are and how the president has been performing.”

Trustee Ron Parrish said the board should table the matter until new trustees are seated.

“[Smith’s contract is] already in place through June [2014], and it seems to me, beyond that period should be determined by the trustees being seated this month with whom she will be working those two years,” Parrish said.

Other trustees could not be reached Sunday.

In calls and letters to trustees and the Northwest Herald, critics said MCC officials were skirting the democratic process. But voters took to the ballots to voice their opinion on board members, not Smith’s contract, Kisser said.

“Voter sentiment didn’t address this issue,” Kisser said. “There was not [a public] vote on [Smith’s performance].

A clerical error on the first agenda, posted after 5 p.m. Friday, inadvertently left off the public comment portion of the meeting. The agenda quickly was revised to include it, as required by the Open Meetings Act.

The meeting will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the board room. The special meeting also will address recent flooding at the college and a nonvoting Committee of the Whole meeting will follow.

If you go
What: MCC special board meeting
When: 6 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Board room, A217, at the college, 8900 Route 14, Crystal Lake

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