Mesalands board approves hiring firm for background checks

The Mesalands Community College board on Friday approved hiring an investigation firm to conduct background checks on candidates for president of the college.

On the recommendation of Jim Streetman, trustee and presidential screening committee chairman, the board hired Albuquerque-based Rick Foley Investigations LLC to conduct background and credit history checks on all applicants.

Streetman said the committee plans to present a list of candidate finalists during the board's June 11 regular meeting, after a review of the investigator's findings. He said the committee and other board members would then interview each finalist via Skype in a closed executive session on June 15.

Currently Natalie Gillard, vice president of academic affairs, and Aaron Kennedy, vice president of student affairs, share oversight of the college's daily operations.

Gillard and Kennedy have been co-managing Mesalands since Oct. 31, when the board of trustees unanimously voted to fire president Mildred Lovato. The decision followed an executive session held during a special meeting on Oct. 31.

The board hasn't given a cause for Lovato's termination.

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