Controversial counsel: a pair of hires at NIC

North Idaho College has hired not one, but two controversial attorneys.

Last week, a divided board of trustees hired Sandpoint attorney Colton Boyles as the college’s general legal counsel.

Boyles scored lowest on an NIC administrators’ review of four candidates, at a 60% rating. The other finalist, the Spokane, Wash.-based Stevens Clay law firm scored 97%.

“We are one bad board meeting away from losing accreditation,” trustee Tarie Zimmerman said at last week’s board meeting, according to the Spokane Spokesman-Review. “How can we put forth someone who scored 60%? … That’s a D-minus.”

Boyles also has extensive ties to right-wing politicians, including former gubernatorial candidate Ammon Bundy, the Spokesman-Review reported. He also unsuccessfully represented then-Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin in an open records lawsuit filed by the Idaho Press Club.

Boyles also pleaded guilty in December to a charge of driving under the influence, and remains on probation until Dec. 12.

Boyles will receive $275 an hour for legal work, the Spokesman-Review reported.

Trustees Greg McKenzie, Todd Banducci and Mike Waggoner voted to hire Boyles. Zimmermann and Brad Corkill voted no.

On an identical 3-2 vote, NIC voted to retain former legal counsel Art Macomber — at an increased hourly rate.

Trustees hired the Coeur d’Alene attorney and unsuccessful GOP attorney general’s candidate in December. After a turbulent tenure, Macomber said in May that he would be stepping down.

Banducci recommended keeping Macomber on to work on college policies, President Nick Swayne’s summer evaluation and an undisclosed personnel issue, the Coeur d’Alene Press reported.

Macomber will earn $400 an hour, up from $325.

“I’ve worked for many months at $325, and I can’t do that anymore,” said Macomber, according to the Coeur d’Alene Press.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

Get EdNews in your inbox

Weekly round up every Friday