115D-6.5. Notice of noncompliance; appointment of an interim board of trustees.

(a) Notice. - The State Board of Community Colleges is responsible for assuring that boards of trustees of the community colleges comply with applicable State laws, rules, and sound fiscal and management practices, as defined in State Board policy. In addition to any actions taken by the State Board under G.S. 115D-6(3), if the State Board finds that a board of trustees of a community college has willfully, or as a result of gross negligence, failed to or refused to comply with applicable State laws, rules, and sound fiscal and management practices, the State Board may issue a written notice to the board of trustees of its findings and direct the board of trustees to take remedial action immediately to address those findings upon receipt of the notice. If the State Board finds the college needs assistance with taking remedial action, the State Board may also appoint an advisory committee to provide support and recommendations to the college. At a minimum, the advisory committee shall consist of representatives of the State Board of Community Colleges, the North Carolina Association of Community College Trustees, the North Carolina Association of Community College Presidents, and the System Office, and each party shall appoint its representative to the advisory committee.

(b) Resolution. - If, after receipt of the notice issued under subsection (a) of this section, a board of trustees willfully, or as a result of gross negligence, persists in refusing or failing to comply with the State laws, rules, or sound fiscal and management practices identified in the notice, the State Board of Community Colleges may adopt a resolution, upon approval of at least two-thirds of the members of the State Board attending the meeting in which the resolution is considered, to vacate the terms of the leadership of the board of trustees to include, but not limited to, chair and vice-chair. The respective appointing authorities shall appoint trustees to fulfill the vacated terms and shall not appoint members whose terms were vacated pursuant to this section. If, after the removal of the leadership of the board of trustees, a board of trustees willfully, or as a result of gross negligence, persists in refusing or failing to comply with the State laws, rules, or sound fiscal and management practices identified in the notice, the State Board of Community Colleges may adopt a resolution, upon approval of at least two-thirds of the members of the State Board attending the meeting in which the resolution is considered to vacate the terms of the full board of trustees. Prior to adopting either resolution, the State Board shall consult with the appointing authorities of the board of trustees and representatives of the North Carolina Association of Community College Trustees and the North Carolina Association of Community College Presidents regarding the proposed resolution. The State Board shall only exercise this authority as an extraordinary remedy utilized in the most extreme circumstances and after all of the following remediation actions have been taken without correction of the identified problems:

(1) The State Board has clearly delineated the failures to comply with applicable State laws, rules, or sound fiscal and management practices.

(2) The advisory committee appointed consistent with subsection (a) of this section has met with the President of the college and the local board of trustees to discuss the problems in question and to assist the community college in question to resolve them.

(3) The State Board has vacated the terms of the leadership of the board of trustees, but the identified problems continue to persist.

(4) The State Board has issued a final warning providing the college with a deadline to resolve the identified problems.

(c) Interim Board Assumption of Powers and Duties. - The adoption of the resolution to remove the full board under this section shall have the effect of vacating the terms of all of the members serving on the board of trustees. Notwithstanding G.S. 115D-12, the State Board of Community Colleges shall appoint an interim five-member board of trustees for a period not to exceed 12 months with input from the advisory committee listed in subsection (a) of this section. To preserve local autonomy, the appointing authorities of the local administrative area of the community college under G.S. 115D-12 shall make recommendations to the State Board on the appointment of the members to the interim board of trustees. All appointees to the interim board of trustees shall be residents of the administrative area of the institution for which they are selected or of counties contiguous thereto with the exception of members provided for in subsection (a) of G.S. 115D-12, Group Four. At the end of the period of service of the interim board of trustees, a board of trustees for the community college shall be appointed in accordance with G.S. 115D-12. Initial terms of members of the new board of trustees shall be staggered to align with the remainder of the vacated terms of the members of the board of trustees.

(d) Notice to the General Assembly. - Within 60 days of the adoption of the resolution to remove the full board under this section, the State Board shall report to the General Assembly in accordance with G.S. 120-29.5 on the adoption of the resolution, the interim board of trustees appointed by the State Board, and any legislative recommendations necessary in regard to the future governance of the community college.

(e) State Board Policy. - The State Board of Community Colleges shall adopt any policies necessary to implement the provisions of this section. (2018-92, s. 1(a).)