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MCC president contract extension causes frustration

CRYSTAL LAKE – For the second consecutive year, some McHenry County College board members are unsatisfied with the contract extension process for president Vicky Smith.

After splitting 3-3 and failing to approve an agreed upon one-year extension for Smith on a first attempt, the board of trustees met again with trustee Mary Miller in attendance who cast the deciding vote to approve the extension 4-3.

Trustees who voted against ratifying the extension, including Chris Jenner and Tom Wilbeck, wondered why the board was able to rescind the 3-3 vote that caused the extension to fail but could not rescind the one-year extension in 2013 when incoming board members attempted to at the time.

Wilbeck and Jenner, who were incoming board members in April 2013, asked the standing board to hold off on voting for the one-year extension but the outgoing trustees approved the extension in its last act. When asked if they could vote to rescind the action once sworn in, they were told it could not be done.

"We couldn't do it 13 months ago but we can do it [now]," Jenner questioned. "It just bothers me that the advice we got to the same situation a year ago is completely opposite of what we're being told."

College attorney Nanci Rogers said there is a section in Robert's Rules of Order that allows a board to rescind action, but the board's policies do not always mirror Robert's Rules.

She stood by her advice to rescind the 3-3 vote and then vote on ratifying the extension.

"I don't have in front of me what it is trustee Jenner is referring to," Rogers said of Jenner's complaint. "And nor is it relevant to what I am advising you right now."

Miller apologized for missing the May 22 meeting where the extension would have been ratified if she were present. Chairman Ron Parrish, who voted against the measure, urged the policy committee to draft a procedure to handle similar situations in the future.

The contract calls for Smith to finish this fiscal year – ending June 30 – at her current salary of $211,000. A combination of raises and Consumer Price Index adjustments would then increase her annual salary each of the next two years by no less than 3 percent and no greater than 5.9 percent.

Insurance, retirement benefits, travel and automobile reimbursements and other existing compensation benefits would also continue.

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