“I suspect it is very hard work,” Kugler told Noozhawk. “I never seem to say yes to anything easy, and this won’t be either.”
All three expressed optimism for their future task, and said they look forward to working with the board.
“It’s always fun to be kinda on the inside,” Nielsen said.
He added that he looks forward to increasing his understanding of the inner workings of the board in the wake of recent adversities, including the college being placed on notice regarding its accreditation.
“I have great ideas, but I don’t have enough information to say that they’re good ideas or not. I just think they’re good at this point,“ Nielsen said. “The first step to fix something is to find out what they’re trying to do that is not working.”
The new members were welcomed by trustees Lisa Macker, Marty Blum, Marsha Croninger and Dr. Peter Haslund, in addition to the college’s superintendent/president, Dr. Lori Gaskin.
“It’s a lot more difficult, stressful, to be a trustee during times of decline,” Haslund said. “If we’re gonna be effective, we’re gonna need to listen to each other.”
Haslund stepped down as board president and passed on the gavel to Blum, the only one nominated and who was unanimously elected by the other trustees. Macker will continue as vice president.
Craig Price, the college’s legal counsel, gave the board members a lesson on the Brown Act, quizzing them by presenting hypothetical events. Some of the clarifications included what and when the public has the right to see and participate, and in what instances a closed session is legal.
He reminded the board that it is not the right of the public to know what the board is doing, but “what you are going to be doing.”
He also urged the board to be cautious with what other people tell them.
“They might be wrong. What they don’t know is that the law has changed,” Price said, noting that the Brown Act was last updated in 2003.