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April 15, 2010 3:36 am

Prestwich contract renewed

Written by Tribune Staff

A contract extension for Northwest College President Paul Prestwich won approval from the NWC Board of Trustees on Monday.

The board approved the contract, which goes through the 2011-12 school year, following an executive session during its regular board meeting.

Board members voted unanimously in February to extend a contract to Prestwich and authorized Board President Jim Vogt to iron out the details with Prestwich.

Vogt said the terms of the new contract are nearly identical to the one currently in effect.

Prestwich's salary remains the same as this year, at $153,900, and the contract allows his family to continue living in Trapper Village West free of charge. If he chooses to leave the housing complex, Prestwich will receive a housing allowance of $900 per month — provisions included in past contracts as well.

Changes to the contract include increasing his vacation days from 20 to 22 days per year, and allowing him to drive his NWC vehicle to destinations within a 100-mile radius of Powell.

“Because of abuses by previous presidents, (the old contract) had that he could only use it within Park County,” Vogt said.

In addition, the new contract would pay for Prestwich's wife, Melanie, to attend two national conferences per year.

But those would be limited to conferences that have tracks for spouses, Vogt said.

Vogt expressed continued support for Prestwich. He pointed to this year's substantial enrollment increase as evidence of Prestwich's overall success in his position.

“He's admitted it was a mistake to do what he did with the letter thing,” Vogt said, referring to recruiting letters written by Prestwich and sent to LDS high school students in Wyoming. “But I think it's time to move forward and not dwell on the past.

“I think the same goes for the employees that were terminated. It was not unusual in terms of numbers, but it was unusual in terms of who they were and their reactions to it. But I think it's time to move on.”

Despite the turbulence on the campus the past few months, Prestwich said he is happy to stay.

“I have enjoyed immensely my time at Northwest College,” he said. “There was never a question in my mind as to whether I wanted to stay.”