North Idaho College president Nick Swayne has won a lawsuit allowing him to be permanently reinstated to his position after a majority of the Board of Trustees removed him earlier this year for unclear reasons. A judge found last week that trustees had violated the terms of Swayne’s employment contract when they placed him on administrative leave, The Coeur d’Alene Press reported.
Swayne had already been reinstated as president by a judge’s order earlier this year while the lawsuit worked its way through the court system. Last week’s ruling makes the reinstatement permanent, undoing the Board of Trustees’ efforts to sideline Swayne.
North Idaho College is at risk of losing its accreditation due to actions by the board majority, including firing a prior president without cause, which prompted a costly settlement. Trustees voted in April to nullify Swayne’s contract, claiming that prior board members had violated open meetings laws when they hired Swayne, a conclusion they reached following an investigation by Art Macomber, an attorney with financial ties to two trustees. A judge called the investigation “a sham and pretext for Dr. Swayne’s removal from his position as President.”
Macomber—who claimed discrepancies in Swayne’s hiring process—was hired by the board in January in a move that violated open meetings laws and skirted standard procedures. Macomber resigned his position as NIC attorney prior to the ruling in the Swayne lawsuit.