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October 7, 2022

COD- From five star dining to soup kitchen

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On June 12, 2015

DuPage Co. – (ECWd)

The College of DuPage held a special meeting last night, and in true form we find arrogance, ignorance, stupidity, and delusional behavior from those elected to handle a $200,000,000.00 Community College.

  • Arrogance – Trustee Erin Birt wanting more options to select from for the hiring of a Financial Firm to step in after the Treasure had been placed on Administrative Leave.

The reason I point to arrogance is because this trustee appears to forget she herself provided no options to the board or the tax payers when she was having a PR firm do work for her without any board approval.  It was OK for her to do things in secret with no other optional firms to select from, but now that she is not in control she chooses to cast dispersions on those trying to clean up a mess created under her watch.

Another example of her arrogance is her silence on Herricane Graphics.  A company owned and operated by a COD Foundation Board member who was awarded 2 no bid contracts for just under $190,000.00 that morphed into payments totaling over $620,000.00.  A contract in which the recipient claimed to be an Architect and they are not.  The public was not given any other option to select from and clearly Birt had no problem with that pay to play, but now, hiring of a firm by the interim President draws scrutiny from the Queen of Malfeasance.

That is Arrogance defined!

  • Ignorance – Trustee McGuire announcing to the world that she KNEW the board policy on investments was being violated by the Treasurer and Controller and she did nothing.

I digress!  She actually did do something.  She defended the violations by claiming it was justified since they were getting a higher return on the investment, all while failing to mention one word about the $2.2 Million dollar loss to the taxpayers.

During her presentation defending the violation, she failed to make one reference to the cover-up that took place, which was the hiding of the internal audit from the board.  She stated that she has yet to see the audit.  The fact the very people violating the law tried to sneak in a policy change to cover up their wrong doing garnered little interest from McGuire. She insisted nothing was done wrong in one breath, while admitting board policy was violated.

That is Ignorance Defined!

  • Stupidity – Trustee Wozniak expressing concern over spending to fix things that he himself was a responsible party for the problems needing fixed.

Stupidity is clearly applicable for Wozniak.  A person who does not understand a retainer fee of $15,000.00 is just that, a $15,000.00 retainer, has no business as a trustee.  After the board attorney announced that the financial firm being hired had agreed to reduce their retainer from $100,000.00 to $15,000.00, Wozniak asked if there was going to be a cap on the retainer.  When told the retainer is what it is, he said, and I paraphrase, “so $15,000.00 is the cap?”  It was clear he could not comprehend the difference between a retainer and a total expenditure.

It appears there is a mental disconnect with Wozniak when it comes to these matters because while he has a problem spending what may be several hundred thousand to fix problems that took place under his watch, he has no problem with several hundred thousand being spent illegally wining and dining.

That is Stupidity defined!

  • Delusional – Trustee Wozniak believes other board members should help him at his Church’s soup kitchen so that they can “bond”.  Trustee McGuire wants her personal community participation to be paid for by taxpayers.

Wozniak is delusional if he thinks having the trustees join him in the soup kitchen is going to help bond the board so that they get along better.  Amazing to many is the fact he had no interest in trying to “bond” when he was part of the majority that allowed all the malfeasance to take place at COD.  Only now that he has been stripped of his travel perks, free food, and booze at the Waterleaf does he find himself on the outside looking in wanting to “bond”.

McGuire was one that claimed the illegal high dollar board meetings at the Waterleaf were justified because it helped the board “Bond” with each other.

Combine ignorance, stupidity, and delusional you can see how we go from 5 star dining to soup kitchens. 

McGuire believes that her attendance at a local event, that had NOTHING to do with the College, is an event she should be reimbursed for by the College.  She claims to be an “Ambassador” for the college when she is out in the community, thus she deserved to be paid for those types of events.  With an Ambassador with this kind of attitude on spending it is no wonder we see both Federal and State criminal investigations going on.

That is delusional defined!

I refer to the Chicago Tribune’s Editorial Board who stated prior to the election 6 trustees needed to resign.  Now with the election over and half of those 6 gone, it is once again time to call for the resignations!  They have no business in public office and their actions speak louder than any words they can spew!

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7 Comments
  • ECWDogs
    Posted at 16:00h, 12 June

    COD- From five star dining to soup kitchen http://t.co/28WLCY2CrO

  • George Barraclough
    Posted at 16:47h, 12 June

    Looks like Breuder, Glaser, Birt, McGuire, Wazniak, Savage and Svoboda have some competition in the home of the Original Tea Party! See below article.

    https://www.bostonherald.com/news_opinion/local_politics/2015/06/hidden_junket_funds_how_deval_patrick_secretly_diverted_millions

  • Curious
    Posted at 06:45h, 14 June

    Let’s say this meeting were to happen in March when the old board was seated and Birt were to suggest this new firm…. I’m 100 % sure that Hamilton would vote no… watchdogs would praise her and make a huge deal that Erin isn’t giving anyone a chance on bidding with these no bid contracts. And it just makes me wonder why this firm was hired as oposed to a million others. I’m going to take a guess and say it’s because someone on the board is friends with someone in the firm. Ok Kirk.. go fire away with your back up information.

    • Kirk Allen
      Posted at 08:20h, 14 June

      I suggest you go watch the video of the meeting and listen to my comments at the 2nd public comment section of the meeting. I, like Erin Birt, would appreciate more options. I agreed with her comment to the board. Where was her insistence of more options when she was in charge? So, before your comment is ever posted my position was clear and does puts a huge whole in your theory.

      One thing that you fail to mention is that there were others interviewed and all board members had a chance to speak with them. The President picked this one, not Hamilton.

      Under the circumstances, with two of your top financial people out of the picture, I would say they are facing an emergency issue which would permit a short term selection to fix the problem without bidding. Regardless, I would like to see ALL professional services bid but that is not a requirement.

      • Jennifer
        Posted at 15:11h, 16 June

        One more thing to clarify… Professional services are NOT exempt from bidding. You have stated this before. 9-27.1 (a) states: “Contracts for the services of individuals possessing a high degree of professional skill where the ability or fitness of the individual plays an important part” are exempt. However, this is really open for interpretation, and in this case, I do not feel that this firm is the only firm qualified to do this job. If they had rescued other College’s in the same situation, I would think differently, but again, their presentation indicates that they have not dealt with grand of a scale in the past.

    • Jennifer
      Posted at 14:50h, 16 June

      Kirk, regardless of what happened with Birt in the past, can you be consistent and look into this? Can you FOIA the new President’s/Board Members emails regarding this selection process and request all documents pertaining to the additional interviews that took place? I am concerned that it didn’t happen and that the new Board bullied him into selecting this particular Firm. Look at his discomfort when it was stated that he selected the firm. Look at how he does not speak up when it is stated he interviewed additional firms. I don’t want o go down the same road yet again. There is some connection here, and it is not with the new President. In all fairness, why are you not requesting these documents as proof they did their due diligence to ensure taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely? It is beginning to appear you have teamed up with the new Board for reasons that do not include protecting the taxpayers and ensuring students at COD have the best possible learning environment. Do the math. At $685 an hour (lets say one person, but the board letter has several employees listed so I assume there will be plenty). If we as taxpayers are billed for 30 hours, one employee a week (conservatively) for six months, we are looking at $493,200. It appears from the approval that there could be way more than that but let’s use that number. If an RFP was written, it would need to be published for 10 days, (this emergency could have been handled internally for 10 days). If a qualified proposer returned a rate at, say just $100 less an hour (conservative), the taxpayers would save $72,000. This is for ONE individual. I assume they need 5 or 6 at varying inflated rates on the board approval. This number could be exponentially higher. Alix’s presentation was lacking considerably. The rep did not seem familiar with the President, the needs of the College, how much work is involved, or how long they would be here. Why weren’t some of these basics l hashed out PRIOR to the contract approval so that he was able to provide a better presentation at the meeting? A professional firm of this nature can assess needs rapidly and at least have an outline of suggestions for work. Now we will be billed for this assessment, at their leisure. I will go ahead and predict that there is a connection that will come into light between this firm and the Board members.

  • Joe
    Posted at 15:33h, 16 June

    Yes the board meeting video explains it all. Mazzochi was correct the first time.. not only will they stop the wrong things, but they will also start the wrong things.

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