Western’s Trustees Look at Policy to Remove a Board Member

Western’s Trustees Look at Policy to Remove a Board Member

ROCK SPRINGS — Even though the Western Wyoming Community College Board of Trustees are updating numerous policies related to board governance, the one that’s received the most attention and discussion involves the process for removing a board member.

During a recent meeting, the trustees took time to explain why they were even looking at such a policy and how this is a policy they hope they never have to use.

“The board had a lengthy discussion on this,” Board President Regina Clark said.

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Western’s policy consultant, Dr. Sandra Veltri, identified the need to develop and implement a new board policy regarding the removal of a board member in preparation for Western’s reaffirmation of accreditation. The board discussed the suggested new policy at a retreat on May 25.

The Wyoming State Statute 21-18-303 (xii) requires community college district boards to have protocols in place to remove a board member for cause or a change of residence.

This statute states a community college board must, “(xii) Establish criteria for appointments to fill vacancies in the board not inconsistent with the provisions of this act and provide for the removal of a board member for cause or change of residence.”

The following proposed policy lays out how and why a board member would be removed from the board.

In our research, SweetwaterNOW discovered most of Wyoming’s community colleges including, Casper College, Northwest College, Central Wyoming College, and Eastern Wyoming College already have a policy like this in place. Sheridan College and Laramie County Community College didn’t appear to have removal board policies in place during our search. The policies vary from one sentence to two or three paragraphs from college to college.

Clark said the board is well aware their positions are elected and they answer to constituents who have the right to vote them out if they don’t like what they are doing, but this policy would give the board an option to remove a board member if they move out of their district or are not fulfilling their duties.

“This is not something we are going to jump to because someone didn’t vote the way we wanted them to vote,” Clark said.

She said the college offers many trainings for new and returning trustees and the board’s focus isn’t on removing a board member, but on students.

“We are here to govern this college and keep our students in the forefront,” Clark said.

Trustee George Eckman said they must have discussed this policy for more than an hour during the board retreat due to the nature of it.

Eckman said removing a board member isn’t something that would be acted upon quickly. He said it would be something that would occur over time. He said other than moving out of the district, it would be an act or a behavioral issue that could start the removal process.

“This is a very serious thing,” Eckman said. “You’re considering the reversal of an election,”

The trustees continued on with the first reading of the policy. The policy will need to go before the board at least one more time before it can be approved. To review all of the policies click here.