By RJ Morgan, County 17
Janell Oberlander has been fired from her role as Vice President and CEO of Gillette College by the Northern Wyoming Community College District (NWCCD).
The news came mere hours after she was appointed interim president of the newly established Gillette Community College District following a closed-door session at a special meeting of the Board of Trustees.
The surprise vote made for a joyous morning for the then-vice president. But, by the end of the day, the emotions turned to confusion after she was informed by the NWCCD that she was relieved of her duties effective at the end of the month.
That bit of important news was not delivered in person or via a phone call. It was a separation notice that was sent from NWCCD and received by email.
“It really was the next step in the development of the GCCD,” Oberlander said. “It wasn’t personal, and we are certainly moving forward with the work needed to stand up an independent community college district.”
NWCCD can’t make any public comment on the separation because it is a personnel matter. Requests for a copy of the email were not returned.
Oberlander has been part of the NWCCD administrative team for the three years. As the GCCD’s interim president, she assumes the leading role in working to forge a memorandum of understanding with her former coworkers at Sheridan College and the NWCCD board.
GCCD Chairperson Robert Palmer said Friday he has been working with NWCCD Chairperson Debra Wendtland to coordinate a joint workshop Oct. 23 with both boards and administrators to initiate work on the continued transition process from a satellite campus under NWCCD to an independent community college district which was approved by voters at the special election in November.
Oberlander confirmed Wednesday that a time and location remains undecided.
The splitting of the districts got a little messier with this decision as local administrators now communicate with NWCCD officials, according to multiple staff members at Sheridan College. In addition, Oberlander’s NWCCD contact information was removed when contacted by County 17 via internet and phone and directed to other staff members late Wednesday.
This sudden decision to part with Oberlander will also cause some immediate financial decisions as she will only be paid by NWCCD through the end of this month. Her salary, which was $120,000 last year according to govsalaries.com, was budgeted into the $1.05M preliminary budget.
The revenue source of those funds has yet to be determined.