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July 14, 2024

ICCTA Failure exposed – Isolated incident?

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On October 22, 2015

DuPage Co. (ECWd)
As we covered in this article, the Past President of the Illinois Community College Trustee Association(ICCTA) chimed in on the College of DuPage boondoggle in his column published by the Daily Herald and called the events at COD an isolated incident and spoke out against legislation to fix these problem.

How effective is the ICCTA when it comes to educating college trustees?

Let us once again dissect a document, only this time from Harper Community College where Mr. Kelley is a trustee and was a trustee during the execution of the referenced documents found below.
We will draw parallels to Harper’s actions and those at COD.  Does anyone see a pattern with Breuder and the actions of these institutions?
The document is the early separation agreement for Robert Breuder who was the former President at Harper Community College.  The very first page tells us this agreement was faxed to the college council on November 12, 2008 and an execution of that document was expected to take place at their meeting that night. It reflects it was faxed at 17:03.

Note that Breuder’s appointment at COD took place only 6 days later!

Interestingly, the Harper records don’t show any agenda for that meeting even though they approved one in the minutes, which can be found on page 28 of their board packet.  Note there is an agenda contained in the packet under the November link for the November 20 meeting, but nothing for November 12th.  A review of numerous downloaded packet reflect agendas contained in the packets however no agenda can be located at this time for this special meeting.
Numerous things were passed at COD without a proper notice on the agendas relating to Breuders contracts and addendum!

  • Not an Isolated problem!
  • A pattern? 

The minutes reflect the Student Trustee made the motion to approve the agreement in question and also shows she voted aye.
We see at COD the student trustee voting regularly as well.  I agree that allowing them to vote, even though it does not count, makes them feel as a part of the process, however, both institutions are violating the law by allowing it to happen, as are most other community colleges.

Why raise this point?

The former President of the ICCTA, current Harper Trustee for 12 years, and a practicing attorney, and he allows the Community College Act to be violated. It is happening all over the state!

“Each community college board shall have one non-voting member who is a student enrolled in the community college under the jurisdiction of the board…….”  ” The nonvoting student members shall have all of the privileges of membership, including the right to make and second motions and to attend executive sessions, other than the right to vote.” (Community College Statute)

I believe that had the legislature meant for them to vote they would have placed that language in the law.  Instead, they placed language that specifically spells out they cannot vote.

If the ICCTA is such a great training tool for Community College Board members, then why is a practicing attorney who was the former President of ICCTA allowing this law to not be enforced?  As the President of that group, a lobbying entity, why have they not lobbied to change the law and allow it?

The point in this example is how the problems start with public bodies.  We allow a law to be violated because we look at it and we believe no real “harm” is done by letting them vote.  We see that position with Open Meetings Act violations, however, now I think more are understanding the importance of EVERY clause in a statute!

Sadly, ignoring “parts” of a law is the first step in teaching our students that laws don’t matter.  If you don’t agree with the law, then have it changed.  Short of that, stop breaking the law, which is not an isolated incident.

Back to the Separation agreement

We find that Breuder initiated the early terminations at both colleges, although that is not how COD presented it to the public.

Both institutions placed him on Administrative Leave and banned him from campus.  If all is warm and fuzzy why ban the guy?  The fact is they were not warm and fuzzy.  With a vote of no confidence at both institutions, it was clear both wanted to rid their institution of him and the votes to do so support it.

Harper agreed to offer their version of a golden handshake that was over $500,000.00.  As with COD’s attempt of doing the same, that points to a payment of which was not in the original contract and no public service is being provided for said payment. That goes against case law and state law.

Legislative action has now been taken to stop this type of thing and that is evidence this is not an isolated incident!

Using public funds to provide health care to a terminated employee’s spouse is using public funds for private purpose and violates Article VIII section 1 of our state constitution.   Although the pattern is clear when it comes to spending tax payer money for private purpose, it is not an isolated problem.

His wife was not the employee and the taxpayer should not be paying for her medical insurance just because he chose to leave the institution. That is simply wrong!

The providing of a brand new Lexus GX470 is also not something that was in his original contract and the public is receiving nothing for that cost.  I have not been able to determine the cost of that vehicle in 2008 but we know the Kelly Blue Book now is approximately $20,000.00, seven years later.  The law does not support this action as it is a severance that was not part of the original contact.

#10 on the list of nauseating items may raise some flags for our friends at the FBI and State’s Attorney’s office. 

“Donors to Harper College or its Foundation (and their related activities) may be solicited for donations if they are a vendor of the College of DuPage at the time the solicitation is made.”

In light of all the pay to play issues uncovered at COD with Foundation members, no-bid and illegal contracts with COD, does that clause not reek of impropriety?  Is this possibly an identification of the pattern of how this guy operates?  Why must those people be vendors at COD?  Better yet, on who’s behalf is he soliciting donations?  He is no longer going to be employed so what does this clause really tell us?

Item 12 is akin to a gag order.  If this was a warm and fuzzy departure then why is such a clause needed?
The spreadsheet used to determine the buyout includes his $30,000.00 a year housing allowance.  I wonder why Mr. Kelly, with all his background and professional experience, didn’t demand a clause that limited that figure if he was getting a housing allowance through another employer, which he did at COD.  A clause was in place for the medical coverage but nothing for housing allowance calculations?
I wonder what Cory Atkinson, Dave Carlin and McKinon were thinking when they approved a housing allowance, when in fact the records pointed to him still getting one from Harper that equaled $10,000 a year (30% calculator of full amount).  Zero consideration because they failed at their jobs as trustees.

And let’s not forget the ICCTA award winning trustee Joe Wazniak was also a party to this!

In addition, Harper public records show he was just given a brand new Lexus, yet the clowns at COD felt a vehicle allowance of $700 a month was needed?
And of course, Harper signs off on an indemnification that basically gives him a free pass for any wrong doing.  Not any different than what NIU did over the coffee fund crimes, of which the taxpayers picked up the legal bills for the crooks.
Senator Connolly entered legislation to fix this problem because of what NIU did, which proves this is not isolated.

It is clear, when the former president of the ICCTA who is a practicing attorney and sitting board member speaks, we should not listen! 

When he allows these types of things to take place it points to not only a disregard for the law, but an inability to understand why such actions are wrong and violate the trust of the taxpayer. Not much different than our outing one of the HLC members for his wrongs prior to coming to COD.

May we suggest military “style” vetting of future public officials so that we expose the failings before we ever hire or vote for them?

These problems are NOT isolated!

Need I say more?

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Harper seperation contract for Breuder
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  • [email protected]
    Posted at 11:49h, 22 October Reply

    In general, your Web site is poorly written and lacks all journalistic integrity. I’ve also noticed that, once an issue cools off in any particular county or community, or local officials supporting your work leave office, you no longer “cover,” in the most loose meaning of the word, that area.
    I sense this Web site is intended primarily for your own amusement or to provide some weak justification for your feelings of self importance.

    • Kirk Allen
      Posted at 17:13h, 22 October Reply

      Another example of drawing conclusions without getting the facts. We are two people. We are not able to stay and “oversee” all the public bodies we identify problems with. You assumption is interesting and I suspect your from Iroquois County and even probably one of the recently elected county board members. You dont know it but the primary reason we have not needed to cover things there is because the FBI is very capable and handling that matter. The attention was raised and there is no need for us to continue investigating when they have all the documents and are dealing with it.
      Unfortunately, your “sense” is in error as it is not about us. We dont get paid and are not looking for justification regarding our feelings.
      You are the perfect example of one who blabbers on about things with no facts and has YET to disprove one thing we have reported.

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