BENTONVILLE — Hadley Hindmarsh resigned her position on the NorthWest Arkansas Community College Board of Trustees effective immediately, the college announced Wednesday afternoon (Oct. 10). Her resignation also includes the honorary chair of the Campaign/Advocacy Committee for the National Child Protection Southern Regional Training Center.
“It has been an honor the serve on the Board. Exceptional work is being done by the faculty, staff and administrators at NWACC and I wish you all the best,” Hindmarsh wrote in her resignation letter.
Hindmarsh said in an interview Wednesday afternoon that her family hopes to move to a new house in 2013 and it is likely that it will be out of her new board zone. That would force her to resign at that time so she decided to resign now so that a new person can be appointed before the end of the year.
This is the first time that the NWACC board is zoned by residency, a change that came about because the college’s district has an average 17% Hispanic population according to the 2010 U.S. Census. According to state law, any district with at least a 10% minority population must be elected by zones rather than at-large positions. NWACC’s voter district is made up of the Bentonville and Rogers school districts.
No one is filed for Hindmarsh’s seat, which could easily mean that she would have been appointed to serve again if she remained in office until after the elections in November, she said.
Updated info: Matt DeCample, spokesman for Gov. Mike Beebe said that the situation is “unique,” largely because the new election zones create a few kinks in the normal appointment process.
What will happen, he said, is that at the board’s first meeting in January, they will be required to draw for length of terms. This is because this will be the first time that the entire board was elected into new positions in the same election.They will draw to determine which positions are two or four-year terms for the first term. Once the positions draw for length of term, the two zones that do not have anyone filed for the election will then receive an appointment from the governor.
Any person appointed by the governor to an elected position must run for the office at the next regular election, in this case that will be 2014. If the person in either appointed zone draws a four-year term, they will only serve the first two years of that four-year term and they must run again to stay in the position. If the positions draw a two-year term, they will serve that term and the position will automatically come up for election after the two years.
All that happens in January, when the new board is seated. DeCample said a decision would be made by next week whether to appoint someone to Hindmarsh’s empty at-large seat that will technically no longer exist after Dec. 31 in deference to the new positions that are created by the zones.
NWACC President Becky Paneitz issued this statement about Hindmarsh and her service: “Ms. Hindmarsh has been an effective advocate and leader in her role on the Board of Trustees, and we appreciate her years of service. She also provided strong leadership to the capital campaign for the National Child Protection Training Center,” she said. “Her service on behalf of NWACC has been significant, and we appreciate all that she has done on behalf of the community college. We wish her all the best in her future endeavors and thank her for her dedicated service.”