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July 20, 2024

Erin Birt skirts College of DuPage Policy and State Law –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On October 17, 2014

College of DuPage (ECWd) –

One of our readers brought this to our attention a few weeks ago in reference to the newly revised public comment policy.

College of DuPage Policy Number 5-85 is clear on how new policies or changes to existing policies are to be implemented:

Violation Number 1

The Board of Trustees – Operation of the Board 5-85

Formulation of Board Policy
The authority and responsibility to enact College policy rests with the Board of Trustees

The Board will continually monitor existing policies of the College to ensure their currency and applicability to existing conditions and will update as necessary and appropriate.  In formulating board policy for the Board’s consideration, the President will notify the Shared Governance Council (or its successor) of impending changes to existing policy, or proposed new policy, and where appropriate, seek input from stakeholders.

A policy will require two readings by the Board prior to adopting. The readings will be agenda items at meetings of the Board.

Based on this Policy, The board illegally voted on this policy change by forcing its implementation at the very meeting where is was voted in approval. This, in turn, violated COD Policy 5-85, violated the rights of those individuals wishing to speak at the meeting, and violated the Open Meetings Act.

Based on this, Chairman Birt should be censured for knowingly and intentionally violating the written and established College of DuPage Policy Manual. I won’t hold my breath waiting…

 Violation Number 2

The Board of Trustees – Composition 5-65

Another violation, which was the addition of a “co-vice chair” to the Board of Trustees, and as chairman is Birt’s responsibility to correct and bring into compliance with the law, and is inconsistent with the Illinois Public Community College Act which states in part:

"...the chairman of the board, or, in his or her absence, the president of the community college or acting chief executive officer of the college shall convene the new board, and conduct the election for chairman, vice chairman and secretary..."

and prescribes who shall preside over meetings:

(110 ILCS 805/3-10) (from Ch. 122, par. 103-10)
    Sec. 3-10. The chairman shall preside at all meetings and shall perform such duties as are imposed upon him by law or by action of the board. The vice-chairman shall serve in the chairman's absence. If the chairman and vice-chairman are absent from any meeting or refuse to perform their duties, a chairman pro tempore shall be appointed by the board from among their number.
    The secretary shall perform the duties usually pertaining to his office. If he is absent from any meeting or refuses to perform his duties, a member of the board shall be appointed secretary pro tempore.

Since it is common knowledge that a public body has only the power given it by the legislature, any election of a co-vice chair is inconsistent with the law. If the legislature had wanted the board to have a “co-vice chair“, it would have certainly provided for that position in the Act.

PDF of all COD Board Policies are located on their website at this link.



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