Cowley College trustee Nancy Burger resigned her position on Monday, making her the third board member to step down in less than three months.
Trustees Bob Juden and Jill Long resigned in April.
Board Chair Harold “Doc” Arnett said on Tuesday that Burger’s resignation came as a complete surprise.
“I had no idea that she was considering resigning,” he said. “I don’t really have any idea what it is about.”
Burger’s written resignation note did not give a reason. She declined to comment on her decision in an email Tuesday afternoon.
“I will say that I am very pleased we have so many individuals interested in the vacancies who will make very good board members,” she wrote.
Arnett said Tuesday morning he had reached out to Burger, but had been unable to make contact.
Trustee Ned Graham declined to comment on specifics, but said the three resignations are troublesome.
“It’s very unsettling,” Graham said. “It’s very, very, very upsetting to me that we’re losing so many good board members.”
Burger’s decision was acknowledged on the same day trustees interviewed candidates seeking to fill the positions left open by Long and Juden.
The eight-member board will now have three seats to fill. Arnett said trustees would need to formally accept Burger’s resignation when it meets Monday, then observe a 15-day waiting period before posting the opening.
“It’s going to be a crucial issue for us,” he said.
Arnett said he found Burger’s resignation disturbing because there was no reason given.
The board has taken new steps since Arnett took over, including initiating a whistler-blower policy to protect college employees, opening board meeting to more public comment, scrutinizing administrative spending, and discussing whether to examine employee turnover during president Dennis Rittle’s tenure.
Rittle underwent his annual evaluation last month, which was discussed in executive session by the board.
As vice chair, Burger was in line in April to become chair after Juden stepped down when he held that position. Burger wanted Long to be the vice chair, but the majority of the board opposed that motion. Arnett ended up as chair and Glennis Zimmerman, the Sumner County representative, as vice chair.
Long quit the next day without providing any public explanation. Juden’s resignation letter, just days earlier, stated that he was stepping down due to philosophical differences. He later explained that he had grown tired of constant friction and disharmony among other members.
Burger, of Winfield, was appointed in December of 2017 to fill a position vacated in March by Sid Regnier, who resigned due to health issues. She was re-elected to the board in November election.