Mesalands president to continue to be paid
May 20, 2020
Though Mesalands Community College’s president was fired in April, the college will continue to pay his $170,000 yearly salary through June 30, according to information from a public records request by the Quay County Sun.
The college’s board of trustees unanimously terminated John Groesbeck’s contract April 21 without discussion after they placed him on paid administrative leave in March. The college has declined to give a reason for Groesbeck’s firing, saying it is a personnel matter.
According to an email Saturday from Josh McVey, the college’s director of public relations, Groesbeck did not receive a contract buyout or severance agreement as part of his termination. The board had given John Groesbeck a two-year contract extension in June 2019.
The board placed Groesbeck on leave last month after meeting behind closed doors with several administrators near the end of an otherwise routine regular meeting.
Groesbeck was not allowed on campus and not allowed contact with the college's staff, faculty or the Mesalands Community College Foundation during his leave. Groesbeck also was forbidden access to his computer system at the college.
Natalie Gillard, vice president of academic affairs, was appointed interim president during the board’s April meeting after Groesbeck’s termination. She received a 10% raise for the promotion. Her annual salary rose from $93,624.32 to $102,986.75, McVey said.
Gillard also served as the college’s interim president from April 2018 to July 2018, when Groesbeck was hired. Gillard declined to comment.
Groesbeck shepherded Mesalands’ acquisition of a closed New Mexico National Guard armory in Tucumcari so it could be converted into a student center. He also planned an expansion of Mesalands’ sports programs, building an on-campus dormitory and a possible name change to Mesalands College.
When asked about the fate of Groesbeck’s plans, McVey wrote: “All initiatives started by Dr. Groesbeck are on hold at this time.”
Groesbeck left the area shortly after being placed on leave and could not be reached for comment.