By Staff Writer Roni Java
The Feather River College Board of Trustees voted 4-0 on Feb. 14 to effectively render as “null and void” an earlier board vote approving employment contract amendments that included awarding lifetime benefits — specifically medical coverage — to FRC President/ Superintendent Kevin Trutna, Ph.D.
A closed-session meeting of the trustees occurred at 2 p.m. as is the board’s custom and, following that, Trutna stated at the beginning of the public hearing that he and the board were in agreement on the issue.
In board action, Trutna and the FRC trustees mutually agreed to consider as null and void their Dec. 13, 2018 decision to amend the previous employment addendum that would have provided the college president and his spouse with “lifetime” coverage for health benefits.
The agreement would have been in effect only in the event that he retired from FRC at some future date.
The unanimous vote included assent from Trustees Guy McNett, Bill Elliott, Trent Saxton and Board President Dr. Dana Ware. Trustee John Sheehan was unable to attend the meeting.
In additional action on the day’s business before them, Trutna then requested that the consideration of a contract addendum (on his employment) be rejected from the current agenda. That was approved 4-0 as well.
Neither the new vote nor the prior decision affected the college president’s current medical or other benefits, or his compensation, as he is actively employed by FRC and therefore receives benefits and health coverage as other employees do.
The new vote came after public interest arose surrounding the end-of-year decision, an opposition advertisement appeared in local papers, and FRC’s Classified Senate President Michelle Ryback made a presentation during the public comment period of this month’s regular meeting.
Ryback advised the trustees that a new law, S.B. 1436, calls for boards to “orally report a summary of recommendations for a final action on salaries, or salary schedules or compensation, paid in the form of fringe benefits for local agency executives.”
She provided a detailed document specifying that such oral reports must be made prior to taking final action on the compensation, in open session at the same meeting where the final action is taken.
“The December meeting happened and you voted on Dr. Trutna’s contract amendment,” Ryback said as she provided her research to the trustees. “But it was unclear what happened so the intent of the law (S.B. 1436) was not met. I thought it was important to bring this up.”