There's a new president on the Madison College campus, but the college is still paying his predecessor.
The new president, Dr. Jack Daniels III, started at Truax on Monday. He comes to the campus as a large expansion is opening and just before students return in a couple weeks.
But he won't be the only president on the payroll. The district board agreed to an "emeritus" agreement with former President Bettsey Barhorst that will pay her full salary of nearly $90,000 until Dec. 31 to be available to Daniels for consultation.
When asked if he thought the arrangement was appropriate, Daniels said he couldn't question the board's decision.
"What I think is appropriate is the transition that needs to occur," said Daniels. "There's a lot of history with Dr. Barhorst, eight or nine years of history. Oftentimes presidents go into new presidencies without that transition of understanding what was and what is."
Former board member Noel Radomski said he has since reconsidered the June closed-session deal he supported.
"Yes, it weighs on my conscience whether this was the right thing to do," said Radomski.
He said board members intended to have a smooth transition that allowed the new president to take advantage of the knowledge, relationships and former conversations had by Barhorst as president. But Radomski said he now questions the cost and extended time frame.
"As a former board member, I know that there is a small deficit that MATC has to address because of the tax levy freeze," said Radomski. "Plus we have the buildings that are up because of the public referendum."
“When I came, I didn’t have this kind of help and the first six months were very difficult for me, very difficult,” Barhorst said. “They did not want this to happen especially since we’re opening new buildings and starting new programs.”
Barhorst said the plans reached in June were made to ensure the school did not miss a beat.
Daniels said he will be in touch with the board about his needs going forward.
"When it comes a time, if we need to make a decision on if we shorten the length of time, then I will engage the board with that decision," said Daniels.
Radomski said the contract was final and could not be changed.
Daniels said he was not familiar with the language in the deal.