Administrative law judge finds just cause supported decision to terminate former NICC president Riedel

Herbert H. J. Riedel, Ph.D.

Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) recently reported that on Monday, May 20, an administrative law judge issued a decision that said the school had just cause to terminate the employment of its past president, Dr. Herbert Riedel. Riedel’s employment with the school was terminated in November 2023, and Riedel has been contesting his termination ever since.

According to a press release from NICC, the grounds used to justify Riedel’s termination included failure to make satisfactory improvement in areas of expectations identified in the evaluation and performance action plan, including:

• Build and sustain trust with all stakeholders and particularly with members of the leadership team and all staff levels;

•Build and sustain an open, respectful and diplomatic relationship and reputation among staff and students;

•Improve communication with and develop and strengthen bonds with community partners.

Pursuant to Iowa Code section 279.24, Riedel has 30 days to appeal the administrative law judge’s decision to the NICC Board of Trustees for reconsideration and review, and Riedel said he and his attorney are considering appealing the decision.

“I disagree with Judge Lindgren’s decision,” Riedel said. “The Board of Trustees hired me on a three-year contract to provide leadership and advance the college. The purpose of a multi-year contract is to allow a leader to make the hard but necessary decisions required for effective leadership — which is precisely what I did. A clique of unaccountable administrators felt threatened by my changes and rebuilding of the leadership team, which they felt diminished their control of the institution. Consequently, they misled the board into taking its rash and unwise actions against me. The vast majority of college employees appreciated my changes and the direction the College was heading. This decision can be appealed, and I am consulting with my attorney about all legal options available to us.”

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