COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - During a chaotic board meeting Wednesday evening, the North Idaho College Board of Trustees voted 3-2 in favor of firing college President Rick MacLennan without cause by the end of day Thursday. While the official termination was without cause, tensions have been rising between MacLennan and certain board members after he implemented a mask mandate in August. 

MacLennan was the longest-serving President among Idaho's community colleges, working as President for five years. 

The vote came among heated exchanges between board members who shared different opinions on the decision. Trustee Ken Howard finished the meeting saying "this is disgusting" referencing the handling of the meeting and the action items. 

The motion was presented by Trustee Michael Barnes and was voted to pass by Board Chair Todd Banducci and Trustees Barnes and Greg McKenzie. It was voted against by Christie Wood and Ken Howard. 

The discussion went on for over an hour, with board members discussing finances, contracts, and replacements. The board also voted to appoint college Vice President Lita Burns as acting President, although they could not clarify if they would pay her more money or how long the term would last.

Burns admitted that she had not been consulted about this decision before the meeting and asked for a new meeting immediately to discuss the details of being acting President. The board agreed to this request and planned to schedule an emergency session by the end of the week. 

In addition, MacLennan's contract states that NIC agrees to pay him 12 months of salary and benefits after he is fired. His annual salary is $222,691.56 and his benefits were not calculated. 

The board is set to schedule an emergency session by the end of the week to discuss the interim president and the search for a new president.