GLENWOOD SPRINGS - Three candidates are in line to serve as the interim president of Colorado Mountain College while the school carries out a search for a new permanent president.Board members Mary Ellen Denomy of Battlement Mesa and Pat Chlouber of Leadville presented three names in a special telephone meeting of the trustees Wednesday afternoon. The trustees agreed to interview all three candidates by phone during the board's next regular board meeting, which is set for 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Monday at the CMC central services building, 802 Grand Ave. in Glenwood Springs.The agenda includes a time for public comment shortly after the start of the meeting.The three candidates under consideration for the interim president's position are:• Charles Dassance of Ocala, Fla., president of College of Central Florida from 1996-2011. He holds a PhD. in higher education administration from the University of Virginia.• Dennis Michaelis of Waco, Texas, president of McLennan Community College from 1988-2009. He holds a PhD. in higher education administration from Kansas State University.• Lin Stickler, executive vice president at Colorado Mountain College from 2006-2010. She holds a master's of public administration from the University of Colorado.The presidential search is under way following the Dec. 27 resignation of former president Stan Jensen, who was awarded a $500,000 severance. College officials have refused to make public the resignation agreement, or to explain why Jensen was awarded a severance three times as large as what would have been due under his employment contract.An open records request filed earlier this month by the Post Independent seeking the resignation agreement was denied by Julie Hanson, general counsel for CMC with the Glenwood Springs firm of Beattie, Chadwick & Houpt."CMC denies the request, as a resignation or separation agreement is not a public record," Hansen stated in a written reply to the Post Independent.During Wednesday's meeting, Chlouber said she had brief conversations with Dassance and Michaelis, and told fellow trustees, "You'd find them both to be highly capable, and wonderful communicators, which we really need at this time, who can have a calming effect with the staff."Board members debated the merit of hiring a former insider who knows the college and the district versus a person who arrives with a blank slate.Board president Glenn Davis said of Stickler, "I have nothing but the highest regard for Lin's work." But he noted, "People employed previously end up with camps of supporters and camps of detractors, and we need to recognize there may be issues based on her prior involvement with the college. We may wish to pursue candidates that don't bring any baggage."Trustees agreed to assemble a list of questions that would be asked of all three candidates in separate, 20-minute interviews. They are expecting to pay the person selected a wage comparable to Jensen's $198,000-a-year salary, along with a housing allowance and other benefits.Wednesday's telephone meeting was attended by six of the seven CMC trustees, who represent taxpayers and voters in the college's six-county district.Trustee Anne Freedman of Basalt did not attend and has announced her plans to resign for health reasons. Because she resigned close to the end of her second term, which would end in November 2013, the trustees can appoint a replacement rather than hold a special election.Freedman said she will still continue to serve as a Basalt Town Trustee.Other topics on the trustees' agenda for the regular meeting on Monday include approval of a three-year strategic plan, tuition and fees for the 2013-14 academic year, the presidential search, and an executive session to discuss the sale of the college's former central services headquarters building at 831 Grand Ave. in Glenwood Springs.
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