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2016 September 20 - 07:06 am

Nebraska Board Chairman Steps Down

Metro Community College Board Accepts Conley’s Resignation

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The Metropolitan Community College Board of Governors unanimously accepted the resignation of former board chairman Fred Conley.

The board made the move at an emergency meeting at the college’s Fort Omaha campus, the Omaha World-Herald reported (http://bit.ly/2b2KNw3 ).

Conley resigned the chairmanship of the Omaha college’s board, but had refused to resign from the board, despite a threat from the U.S. Education Department to withhold millions of dollars in student aid and other federal funding from the college if Conley remained.

The threat followed an order from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development earlier this year prohibiting the federal government from doing business with Conley for three years. HUD officials have said Conley didn't disclose business relationships he had with companies that had dealings with the Omaha Housing Authority.

Until the board’s vote, Conley had maintained that he would complete his term, which was to end in December. His resolve prompted pleas from other board members and college leaders for Conley to reconsider, and last month, the board even passed a measure asking Conley to resign. But neither the community college, nor its board, has the authority to remove an elected official from office.

Following weeks of mounting pressure, Conley indicated he would resign before the federal Education Department’s deadline for him to step down, saying he came to believe his continued presence on the board truly would threaten government aid to the school.

“I know that he cares about the college,” new Metro board chairman Roger Garcia said after the board’s meeting. “I know that he cares about the community, so I’m sure that had something to do with it, because there was a lot of money on the line.”

Conley’s resignation takes effect Sept. 29.

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