Northeast State Community College president quits after ‘no confidence’ vote, secret meeting

Embattled Northeast State Community College President Janice Gilliam announced in a letter to Tennessee Board of Regents officials that she is retiring effective June 30, reports the Kingsport Times-News.

TBR Chancellor Flora Tydings said she has accepted the retirement and plans to appoint TBR Executive Vice Chancellor James King to serve as interim president of Northeast until a national search for a permanent successor can be conducted.

The announcements come two days after a closed-door executive session of the TBR Audit Committee and months after a no-confidence vote by the school faculty. The committee is set to give a report to the full TBR on June 23. TBR spokesman Rick Locker confirmed the retirement letter had been received by TBR Chancellor Flora Tydings after 4:30 p.m. local time Thursday. It also was addressed to Gov. Bill Haslam, as chair of the TBR, Vice Chairwoman Emily Reynolds and the other TBR members.

“I have reflected and analyzed on many occasions these last few months and as objectively as possible, on the best solutions for the situation at Northeast State,” Gilliam wrote. “The decision to announce my retirement effective June 30, 2017, seems to be in the best interest for the College in moving forward.”

Locker said the executive session of the Audit Committee is not public and he does not know what might be presented at the June 23 meeting. Northeast’s Faculty Senate and later the full faculty voted no confidence in Gilliam earlier this year, alleging over-expansion, unrealistic revenue projections and an “environment of distrust,” among other things.

King has worked in the TBR system since 1983 and served as TBR vice chancellor for the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology from 1999 until June 1, when Tydings elevated him to executive vice chancellor.

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Former Knoxville News Sentinel capitol bureau chief Tom Humphrey writes about Tennessee politics, government, and legislative news.
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