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Polk makes new appointment to ICC board

After rescinding its January decision to reappoint commissioner Ray Gasperson to the Isothermal Community College (ICC) Board of Trustees, commissioners appointed county resident Don Hoffman to the board.

Commissioners met Aug. 5 and appointed Hoffman to the ICC board by a 4-1 vote, with Gasperson voting against. Hoffman and Gasperson were the only applicants to the board.

Following the appointment, commissioner Ted Owens said Gasperson knew it was the county’s policy to take applications for the ICC board. The county reappointed Gasperson to the ICC board in January along with other commissioner appointments to volunteer boards and later said they didn’t realize the ICC board appointment was not a liaison member. The ICC board appointment from Polk is for a voting member and commissioners later said they should have taken applications from county residents for that position.

During citizen comments, Renée McDermott said she respectfully disagrees with the analysis of county attorney Jana Berg saying that the majority of commissioners could rescind their previous appointment of Gasperson because of a general right of corporate boards of directors to rescind previous actions. McDermott said that may be correct in many instances, but not when there’s a more specific state statute that addresses the issue such as section 115D-19 of the N.C. General Statutes.

“That statute is specifically about ‘removal of trustees’ from the boards of community colleges,” McDermott said. “You can’t get much more specific than that.”

McDermott said the statute says it must be shown that a community college trustee is not discharging the duties of his office or is guilty of immoral or disreputable conduct before he can be removed and that the state board of community colleges must make that charge.

“That is, according to the statute, the majority of the Polk County Board of Commissioners is not empowered to remove a trustee from the college board,” said McDermott.

Owens said he doesn’t think a commissioner should serve on the ICC board would not even vote for any other commissioners to be members simply because of what commissioners heard at the meeting.

“It turns it into a political football,” Owens said.

His second reason, he said, is that people stood up there and said what a good job Gasperson did on the ICC board but he read in the Rutherford news that the ICC board of trustees is paying the president $38,545 more than the state says to pay. The state says to pay $110,923, and Gasperson was on the board, Owens said.

“My point is there’s a lot of students here in Polk County who could use that money to attend ICC to go to school,” Owens said.

Owens also said the Rutherford newspaper said the ICC board approved a blanket travel allowance for the president.