Members of the Northern Marianas College Board of Regents were split on the idea of rescinding their earlier decision to remove two of their regents from the NMC Foundation board of directors.
A motion to reinstate chair Juan T. Lizama and regent Frank Rabauliman to the Foundation board was defeated yesterday after garnering a 3-3 tie vote from the six-member body. The motion was made by regent Malua Peter and was supported by Lizama and vice chair Elaine Orilla.
The other three-Rabauliman, Andrew Orsini, and William Torres-opposed the motion, standing by their decision earlier this year to permanently bar regents from becoming Foundation board members.
Based on board policy, if a motion receives a split votes (3-3), any prior decision adopted by the board on a particular issue will stand as it is and is not defeated. The seven-member Board of Regents has one vacant seat.
Lizama, after yesterday's meeting, expressed disappointment with the action of his colleagues. He believes the decision may jeopardize the Foundation because the board reduced the number of its members.
Lizama and Rabauliman used to represent the Board of Regents on the Foundation board.
Lizama remains firm in his belief that the decision to bar regents from the Foundation board is “still illegal” and in contrast to the objective of the BOR, which has oversight over the Foundation. Lizama earlier claimed that the BOR has no authority to remove Foundation board members as it has its own bylaws.
The BOR spent a few hours in executive session yesterday to discuss the NMC Foundation issue.
“I really tried my best to let the members understand why it is important to rescind the early action of the board, but I failed. It seems some members have already made up their mind on the issue,” Lizama said.
The BOR adopted the decision to remove regents from the Foundation board at an April board meeting. Lizama was the only one who voted against the motion versus the three “yes” votes of Rabauliman, Orsini, and Torres. Saipan Tribune learned that Peter was absent at the time while Orilla had yet to be confirmed by the Senate.
Despite his removal from the Foundation board, Lizama continues to attend Foundation meetings and even participates in its decision-making. He said yesterday, however, that he will stop attending Foundation meetings.
It was disclosed yesterday that the BOR's decision in April was in response to a “request” made by NMC Foundation members, and until no new request is receive from the Foundation to reinstate former members, the three regents will stand by their decision.
Lizama told Saipan Tribune that he is unaware of any “requests” related to this matter.