North Idaho College’s new interim president has a contract that runs at least 18 months — at $235,000 a year.
In addition, Greg South will receive a $35,000 signing bonus, and contributions into his retirement account worth an additional $35,000 a year.
South’s contract, obtained Tuesday by Idaho Education News, provides more insight into the costly administrative churn at NIC. The embattled Coeur d’Alene-based community college faces chronic enrollment decreases and continued questions about accreditation. College officials must submit a letter by Wednesday to the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, explaining why they believe NIC still meets accreditation guidelines.
Administrative turnover and board infighting both have factored into NIC’s accreditation woes.
Trustees hired South as interim president on Dec. 21. He is stepping in for Nick Swayne, after trustees voted on Dec. 8 to place him on paid administrative leave. Neither move was unanimous; in both cases, a bloc of Kootenai County Republican Central Committee-aligned trustees pushed for the changes. Saying they wanted to review language in Swayne’s contract, the trustees sought to bring in an acting president.
But South’s contract, signed Dec. 21, “will continue at least until June 30th, 2024.” While the contract contains several termination clauses, it’s unclear how any of this language would apply to replacing an interim president. (EdNews has asked NIC for a clarification.)
South will receive $235,000 per year, exceeding Swayne’s $230,000 salary — which is still paid while he remains on leave.
In other words, NIC has committed to paying South and Swayne a total of $465,000 a year — more than any president at the state’s four four-year schools.
South’s contract contains several other perks:
- The contract calls for a $35,000 signing bonus, “given the current NIC and community environment.” South will receive this bonus by Jan. 31.
- South will receive an annual retirement contribution worth 15% of his salary, or $35,250.
- South will receive a housing allowance worth $36,000 a year.
- South, who is moving back to Coeur d’Alene from California, will receive a reimbursement of moving expenses, up to $27,000.
South served as NIC’s interim dean of instruction for several months in 2021, the Coeur d’Alene Press has reported. Idaho EdNews has requested a copy of South’s resume or curriculum vitae.
On top of the salaries for South and Swayne, NIC also paid former interim president Michael Sebaaly through the end of the year.
Sebaaly had headed NIC from October 2020 through June, when Swayne was hired. Sebaaly had been making $180,000 a year as president. But through Sunday, NIC paid Sebaaly at $56,660 annually — his salary as NIC’s wrestling coach, the position he held before his was promoted to the presidency.
Sebaaly left NIC in September, after he had been placed on paid administrative leave.
Sebaaly had been named president after trustees fired President Rick MacLennan without explanation in September 2021. MacLennan later received a settlement of nearly $500,000 — half from the college, and half from the college’s insurer, the Coeur d’Alene Press reported.