Western’s Board Approves Raise for President Dale

Western’s Board Approves Raise for President Dale

Western Wyoming Community College President Kimberly Dale. Western Wyoming Community College website photo

ROCK SPRINGS — The Western Wyoming Community College (Western) Board of Trustees approved a salary and benefits increase for President Dr. Kimberly Dale. Dr. Dale has been Western’s President since 2019.

At their June 15 meeting, the vote to approve the new salary and benefits for Dr. Dale was one vote short of unanimous, however. Trustee Neil Kourbelas opposed the new salary and benefits for Dr. Dale due to what he saw as a technicality.

Dr. Dale’s salary increase and benefits were based upon those for other Western employees. Kourbelas said he believed the college president’s salary and benefits should be evaluated differently and apart from those for other college staff.

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Koubelas emphasized that his opposition vote had nothing to do with Dale’s performance as Western president.

“I think the college is in fine hands,” Kourbelas said. “I cannot support a salary increase and benefits…(but) nothing in my statements is meant as an indictment of Dr. Dale’s leadership.”

In response to Kourbelas’s concerns, Trustee Regina Clark praised Dale’s leadership since she took over as Western President in 2019. Clark said Dale has put in long hours, worked tirelessly, and has been a good listener for the Board and Western’s staff.

“She has done some very difficult things without a salary increase since 2019,” Clark said.

“At no time am I expressing criticism of Dr. Dale’s leadership,” Kourelas reiterated.

In the end, the trustees voted in favor of increasing President Dale’s salary and benefits. After a brief few seconds of hesitation, Koubelas cast his “Nay” vote. Trustee Stephen Allen was absent from the meeting.

Upcoming Project 

Vice President for Administrative Services Burt Reynolds presented the Board with a long rundown of projects either in motion currently or that will be in motion sometime during the next five years.

The improvements to the Hay Library were among the first improvements that Reynolds mentioned.

“We’re starting in the back and moving forward,” Reynolds explained. The carpet, walls and ceiling were being worked on in the library. Within the stacks, “we’re getting rid of things not being used anymore.”

One of the goals for the library was to create more “collaborative space,” Reynolds said. He added that libraries now function in a variety of ways different from the past, such as online information gathering.

The University of Wyoming Extension office is being moved from the second floor to the first, closer to faculty offices, Reynolds said, which will make room on the second floor for the college’s Marketing Office.

The University of Wyoming Extension office houses the headquarters of the Sweetwater County 4-H Program.

Western is hoping to open a testing center next spring, Reynolds continued, if heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) concerns can be alleviated. Testing center computers can be expected to generate a lot of heat, Reynolds explained.

A first floor “student living room” is also being planned, complete with couches, chairs, and possibly even a fireplace to create ambiance.

“It would be an informal meeting space for students,” Reynolds said.

Other projects present and future include upgrades to class technology equipment, renovations to the lobby and entrance, better hallway lighting, outdoor classroom space near the picnic tables, “re- imagining” the Green River Center, and better lighting, stage flooring and acoustics for the theater.

Other Business

The Board approved Policy 7610A, relating to board-staff communications. The policy lays out the suggested lines of communication through established channels without, however, restricting college employees’ right to approach trustees directly regarding any issue of concern.

The Board also approved Policy 2110A specifying guidelines for social media use, including how to keep personal and college-related communications separate. The policy is being administered by the Marketing and Information Technology Services offices.