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Right guy, right time

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THE NEW president at College Of The Mainland takes up his duties tomorrow two weeks late because of confusion about a state retirement law.  
Warren Nichols was originally due to take over from interim president Rodney Albright on January 30 but his contract negotiations were halted when, shortly after being named sole finalist for the position previously held by Beth Lewis, he learned that the state legislature had changed its retirement-system law in 2013.
According to the new law, he would have to pay a penalty should he return to work in a public-school system. At the time of his recruitment in December, the former Arlington police officer was Tennessee’s vice chancellor of community colleges.
The college trustees were forced to suspend negotiations and hold off issuing a contract according to a law known as the 21-day rule.
“The 21-day rule governs the appointment and contracting with a community-college president”, trustee member Rachel Delgado told The Post.
“After a college appoints a sole finalist, it must wait 21 days until a contract can be issued. We had to stop the clock when we were apprised of this new information and decide whether or not we could move forward.”
She added that Nichols, above, had been unanimously named the college’s new president in a unanimous vote on January 30 “after researching the rule and much discussion of the best way to proceed”.
Nichols said his biggest priority will be a partnership with the college’s staff, students and surrounding community.
“I’m a big proponent of getting the community to view the college as a meeting place and resource”, he said.
A relieved Wayne Miles, who chairs the COM trustees, said they were “thrilled” to have Nichols on board, describing him as “the right guy at the right time”.
Albright, a former president of Alvin community college, will remain at COM as a consultant until the end of the month to ensure a smooth transition for his replacement.
Lewis is now dean at Del Mar college in Corpus Christi.

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