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2017 Top Stories: No. 9 - High-level Shake-up Again At CFCC

By Cece Nunn, posted Dec 15, 2017
Cape Fear Community College experienced upheaval once again this year in its top leadership position.
 
In announcements that came during a board of trustees meeting in October, CFCC President Amanda Lee resigned from her post, and the school settled a lawsuit that was filed by her predecessor, Ted Spring.
 
The board approved Lee’s resignation effective Dec. 31 at the Oct. 26 session, although she was expected to remain on extended leave through that date, officials said.
 
Jim Morton, previously the school’s executive vice president and before that the finance director of the Wilmington International Airport, has been serving as acting president. Morton’s interim president employment contract was still being prepared for approval by the school’s board of trustees as of Dec. 6, according to CFCC spokeswoman Rachel Nadeau.
 
A search committee for a new permanent president has not yet been established by the BOT, Nadeau said.
 
No specific reason was given for Lee’s departure. She was named the college’s president in June 2015 having served as interim president during a tumultuous time for the school. She took the helm after Spring resigned during a January 2015 board of trustees meeting.
 
Spring subsequently asked to be reinstated to the post, a request that was denied, and his attorney filed a lawsuit against CFCC’s board in March of that year alleging that trustees had forced him to resign, which the college disputed.
 
During its Oct. 26 meeting this year, the board approved a settlement in the lawsuit, under which the case was dismissed, and the school agreed to pay Spring “approximately the amount of the severance offered to him at the time of his resignation,” an announcement stated. Additionally, the college’s insurance carrier agreed to pay him for his losses and his costs in pursuing the case, according to the CFCC statement, and that amounted to $486,000.
 
Costs associated with the lawsuit prompted the settlement, CFCC officials said at the October meeting.
 
Despite the settlement, Spring and his attorneys reiterated in a statement in November that the board of trustees falsely accused Spring of wrongdoing and wrongfully terminated him for political reasons. CFCC officials did not respond to the statement from Spring’s attorney’s office, other than to email another copy of the Oct. 26 announcement about the settlement, which expressed a desire to put the Spring incident in CFCC’s rearview mirror.
 
CFCC trustee Woody White, who is also an attorney and chairman of the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners, shared in a recent interview what kind of qualities he wants CFCC’s next president to have.
 
“Just speaking for myself, I think that there are a few qualities that are mandatory: a sharp business mind that can understand complex financial and facilities strategies; secondly, an honest and ethical person of sound judgement; and thirdly, someone that instills confidence and inspires the faculty and students with their vision for the future of Cape Fear Community College,” White said.
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