The Northern Marianas College Board of Regents’ decision on the contract of college president Dr. Sharon Hart remains unclear several weeks after her contract expired on July 2.
In interviews yesterday over the phone and at his law office in Garapan, NMC board chair Juan Lizama did not comment directly when asked for details on whether Hart’s contract was renewed for two years, one year, or if it was renewed at all.
The NMC board chairman is the spokesperson of the board and addresses reporters. Hart is an employee of the board.
Saipan Tribune asked Lizama point blank if Hart is working without a contract.
“The clear-cut answer to that is she is not contract-less,” Lizama said. He added, “That was not a good question.”
“There is no announcement of any sort so you cannot speculate if she is contract-less or she has got a contract…She’s still there, she’s still running the college,” Lizama said.
Directed to the special board meeting on June 25 on Hart’s contract, Lizama said there was “no action” taken by the board.
“There was no vote to finalize the contract,” he said.
If the board had voted during the special meeting on Hart’s contract, it would have been done in open session.
The minutes of the special meeting have not yet been adopted and made available for public viewing. It was not adopted at their meeting last Friday.
Saipan Tribune was told that the board had voted on a one-year renewal of Hart’s contract in their June 25 special meeting, and that as of Friday, Hart has not signed her contract. But Lizama’s statements yesterday did not corroborate this.
Earlier this month, the college said there was still no new information to share “other than both parties are in the midst of contract negotiations.”
The college per policy does not comment directly on personnel matters.
A contract would entail the signatures of the employee, Hart; the board chairman, Lizama; the board legal counsel; and the college’s human resource manager.