CMC board tables conflict of interest discussion related to $500K severance package
October 10, 2013
Steamboat Springs — 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."
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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.