CMC board tables conflict of interest discussion related to $500K severance package

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— The Colorado Mountain College board of trustees is in the process of discussing whether board President Glenn Davis was operating under a conflict of interest during severance negotiations with former CMC President Stan Jensen.

Davis negotiated Jensen’s $500,000 severance package when the former president resigned in December. The Glenwood Springs Post-Independent reported Tuesday that Steamboat Springs resident and CMC trustee Ken Brenner expressed concern over two home loans, both more than $500,000 in value, that Jensen had taken out through Alpine Bank, of which Davis is Eagle County regional president.

One of the loans was apparently outstanding during the Davis-Jensen negotiation process, the Post-Independent reported.

The trustees knew about Davis’ role with Alpine Bank when he was elected board president in 2011, but he apparently never disclosed a possible conflict of interest on any agenda items since then, including the severance negotiation process.

The biggest concern, Brenner said, is that language in the Higher Learning Commission policy book directly states that no trustee may have ownership, interest or a position of authority with any company that does substantial business with the college. Alpine Bank provides financial services for all 11 CMC campus districts spanning six counties.

“Glenn is president with one of the (Alpine Bank) regional branches and has stock,” Brenner said. “He is a very good example of what higher learning policy is against.”

CMC also is undergoing a routine accreditation process by the Higher Learning Commission, during which Brenner said the commission “fully accounts for what takes place on the board.” Brenner said he is growing concerned that Davis’ potential conflict of interest might negatively affect the accreditation process.

In previous board meetings, at least a few of CMC’s seven trustees echoed Brenner’s concern about the possible conflict of interest.

Davis told the Post-Independent he did not believe he was operating under a conflict of interest during the severance negotiations but called it a possible “oversight” that he went through with the process instead of recusing himself.

A discussion about the possible trustee policy violation was slated for the board's regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday but was tabled. The board’s next scheduled meeting is Nov. 13, but discussion on the matter could happen before then.

At the November meeting, the trustees will discuss and possibly take action on conflict of interest policy language changes as well as discuss the Higher Learning Commission’s stance on the matter, Brenner said.

To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email bingersoll@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll

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Comments

Stuart Orzach 1 year, 2 months ago

Whether or not there was conflict of interest, $500,000 is a shockingly high amount for a severance package.

A prospective adjunct professor was recently offered approximately $700 per credit hour to teach a 3 credit course this coming semester. A credit hour is the equivalent of one hour of classroom time for 15 weeks. The compensation for teaching the 3 credit course for one semester would be approximately $2100. There is no additional compensation for the time spent preparing lessons, grading tests and papers, or counseling students.

Draw your own conclusions.

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doug monger 1 year, 2 months ago

The severance package had a rotten smell when it was first reported. It grows worse as it goes along. I was absolutely astounded by the $$$ when it was first reported (golden parachute), I guess things might be getting a clearer as to what, when, how, and why. As presented it doesn't put a good picture on government and more specifically in this case Higher Education. Then remember who presently is paying for the cost of higher education, students borrowing money. Thanks to the other board members for taking the issue to task. Doug Monger

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jerry carlton 1 year, 2 months ago

There is no end to peoples greed and to people giving away tax payer dollars. Anybody that owns property in Routt county is having their money confiscated and given to this paragon of morality. My contribution in 2012 was 126.66. Look at your property tax statement and see how much yours is. These two guys should become professional politicians and run for congress. They obviously have the moral character to be congressmen.

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Fred Duckels 1 year, 2 months ago

This deal appears to be way above market for CMC. I don't think that it would be difficult to beat this situation, who is in charge?

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rhys jones 1 year, 2 months ago

"A man with a briefcase can steal more money than any man with a gun." - Don Henley

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Scott Wedel 1 year, 2 months ago

The possible conflicts of interests do not explain why CMC was willing to pay a $500,000 severance package. This was not a payment to get or continue to profitable business with CMC.

The big question is why was the CMC board willing to pay $500,000 to get someone to leave?

In the private sector a severance package is often fulfilling a compensation contract with stock options and so on. And thus is avoiding a lawsuit that would likely result in a similar payment.

But governments don't have stock options and there is no good reason for large severance packages. The most obvious reason for a large severance package to a government employee is to purchase the terminated employee's silence on they dysfunctional government agency wasting the public's money. And the governing board would rather keep on without a public scandal threatening their fiefdoms.

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