Vice president post eliminated at Craig's college

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Community college officials said they don't intend to fill the Craig campus vice president position left vacant this month by Dean Hollenbeck.

The decision has caused concern among some community members who fear it doesn't bode well for the Craig campus.

In September, Hollenbeck said he would resign his position. His last day at the campus was Friday.

Bob Rizzuto, interim president of Colorado Northwestern Community College, said Friday that the vice president's duties instead would be split among the president, yet to be hired, and Gene Bilodeau, who is the dean of student services and also registrar.

Rizzuto said there is much support for Bilodeau in Craig.

The college also is working to fill the position of president. Four candidates vying for the position were in Craig on Monday and today to tour facilities and meet community members.

Colorado Northwestern Community College's main campus is in Rangely. There is a secondary campus in Craig, as well as outreach programs in several other communities.

Rizzuto met with Craig campus staff members Friday to announce the college's decision not to replace Hollenbeck.

Not everyone is pleased with the decision.

"I'm not surprised," said Kandy Kropinak, college advisory chairwoman. "I am disappointed and think it will probably hurt our Craig campus."

Rizzuto proposes that whomever the college chooses as president would split time between Craig and Rangely campuses, spending three days a week in one town and two in the other in alternating weeks. Bilodeau will take on duties the president can't.

College officials have been considering eliminated the vice president's position since the college's last president, Peter Angstadt, left nearly two years ago, Rizzuto said.

Rizzuto said consolidating the position is not a budget-cutting move. Rather, he said, it would ensure that the college's president is as involved with the Craig campus as it is with Rangely.

"If I were going to be here, this is the way I'd do it because I'd want to be more involved with Craig and Rangely," he said. "The new person is going to become involved in the community, I would hope, to the same degree that Dean (Hollenbeck) is."

The vice president proposal is subject to approval by whomever the college selects as president.

"But I don't see that person changing this piece much," Rizzuto said. "The wild card is how the president is going to split his time."

This is the first time, Bilodeau said, that the president will have the option of living in Craig or Rangely. In the past, the college has required that the president live in Rangely.

Kropinak said she understands that the proposal might be necessary because of recent state funding cuts. But she said she hopes that under better financial circumstances, college officials will consider reinstating the vice president position.

She said she does like the idea of the college's president being more involved with the Craig campus.

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