HCC presidential search narrows to three unnamed candidates

By Caroline Klapper | Feb 06, 2013

Although the Haywood Community College Board of Trustees has narrowed down the search for a new president to three applicants, the names of those candidates will not be released to the public.

“We have to keep things confidential unless it’s approved by the people (who applied),” said board attorney Pat Smathers.

Last year, the first round in the search for the next HCC president was conducted somewhat publicly, with five potential candidates coming to the college for in-person interviews with the board, staff and faculty and the community. As part of that interview process, all of the candidates agreed to have their names released publicly.

However, a final selection was never made, and instead, the board advertised for the position again to attract new applicants. The new round of interviews and discussion of candidates has been done privately in closed session meetings of the board with no public interviews offered.

Smathers said because the board has gone about the process differently this time, it did not request permission to publically release the names of the candidates, and therefore, they cannot reveal them.

“The application process is confidential,” he said because it is a personnel matter.

Now that the HCC board has narrowed the selection of candidates down to three people, the next step is to send those applicants to the State Board of Community Colleges, which must approve them.

The Personnel Committee of the state board has the job of determining whether the candidates are qualified for the position, and if any further research or investigation is needed, it will be done by them, said Megen Hoenk, director of marketing and external affairs with the state board.

Depending on college’s timeline for submitting the names, the state board could begin the approval process as early as the next committee meeting on Thursday, Feb. 14.

Once the state board approves the three candidates, the HCC Board of Trustees can make its final selection. From there, the person chosen goes back to the state board again for final approval, and then the announcement would be made public.

Hoenk said announcing the names of the candidates before the final decision is made is “up to the discretion of the college,” and otherwise, it is not a matter of public record.

The process of hiring a new president has so far taken more than a year since former HCC president Dr. Rose Johnson announced her resignation in Oct. 2011.

Johnson left the school at the end of Oct. 2012 after the first selection process did not produce a new president. Interim president Dr. William Aiken, who recently retired from Sampson Community College in Clinton, took over the job on Nov. 1.



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