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July 21, 2024

College of Dupage – Reform agenda takes back seat to bickering

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On May 3, 2015

DuPage Co. (ECWd) –

What may become the meeting of all meetings to remember years from now began with former Chairman Erin Birt claiming she had an illness that prevented her from speaking.  It did not take long for that claim to be proven false as she spent the vast majority of the night speaking.

Sadly, it was bickering that took the attention from probably the most important factor in the history of that college.  A reform agenda that will be looked at in the future as probably one of the most well thought out action plans any newly elected officials have acted on.  By all indications, they listened to the voters!

One matter is permitting the state Auditor General to carry out the performance audit.  An item that former Chairman Birt refused to act on.  Our sources point to a cost of just over $300K even with the expended scope requested by the board, which is much lower than what Birt insinuated prior to her NO vote on such an audit.  A public body willing to be independently audited should be applauded by all as that is what was promised by the clean slate team of Napalitano, Bernstein and Mozzachi.

For those that failed to read the resolution on this matter it should be noted that this new board also included all 2009 and 2010 transactions related to any bond offerings, or utilizing the proceeds from any bond offering.  Note that our article on that issue raised serious concerns and I suspect someone listened! (Click here for that article)

The hiring of a firm to perform their own internal investigation is more than justified as most know criminal investigations can take years, and COD does not have years!  Case and point is the Radio Broadcast Engineering investigation.  It took 14 months before he was arrested.  If the internal investigation can be conducted in 4 months and bad actors removed long before possible criminal charges are established, it only helps fix the damage caused to date.

The Authority for operations was another major issue that puts the power back where it belongs, with the elected officials. For what ever reason the previous policy restricted the board’s power outlined in the statute and one can only assume that was intentional, and may well have been a contributor, to the problems the college now has.

Responsibilities of the Board were amended to clearly define who is in charge and what a blessing that it is not Breuder!  Control belongs with the board, and although Birt insinuated this action was to micro manage the college, it is evident by reading it that is not the case at all.

Formulation of Administrative Procedures that clearly ensure the future President is “required” to do certain things and those items are to be approved by the Board.  

Agendas are now the responsibility of the Chairman with advice and counsel of the Vice Chairman and are NOT an item that the President prepares as was in the past.  That is a badly needed step in the direction of reform.

Recording of Closed Meetings is now the responsibility of the Secretary of the Board and can not be delegated as before.  Nor is the security of those records left to the President.  It also points to establishing all past recordings to be preserved in digital format.  Another reform step in the right direction.

Trustee Education and Attendance at Conferences was a policy change that clearly got under the skin of McGuire, and we suspect trustee Wazniak as well.  We believe the reason they were so bothered by this change is this action limits their ability to coordinate their vacation on certain trips that were previously funded by the college.  Former trustee Wozniak, the father to the current trustee will probably be disappointed as well as this was a travel perk he truly enjoyed and was looking forward to if elected.     This is another needed reform step!

Sadly, childish bickering and a hiccup pertaining to the hiring of a former attorney for Hamilton garnered the headlines while the very reforms the public asked for are being put in place and for the most part overlooked.

Time will tell the story better than anything we could ever type.  I believe the people voted their hearts and minds and I suggest we provide some time to this new board to establish a track record.  Once they have a track record we can better judge the actions of the first meeting.

You can review the entire board packet below or download it.  I encourage everyone to read the important issues this new board wants to implement to fix the broken history of COD.

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