DuPage Co. (ECWd) –
As if the exposure of the Harper Contract for Breuder in this article was not enough to point to a rat, one only need look right back at COD in 2008, the beginning of the Breuder debacle, to see some actions that defy logic and records that are conveniently not available.
October 23rd of 2008 Mrs. Breuder, according to the minutes, leaves the “closed session” portion of the special meeting. A special meeting that was NOT held at COD. No, instead it was held at the Double Tree Hotel in Downers Grove.
The minutes also show Dr. Narcisa Polonio with ACCT as being present by phone during the meeting. This was the person who told the current board recently that ACCT recommended to the board that Breuder WAS NOT a good fit for COD. Trustee Wozniak insists that never happen.
In an effort to get all the records to find out who was telling the truth on the ACCT recommendation, I asked for more records surrounding that special meeting.
The holding of a special meeting has specific requirements outside of the typical Open Meeting Act requirements. The Community College Act specifically requires a “written notice to be provided stating the time, place and purpose of the meeting and had to be served by mail in 48 hours before the meeting or by personal service 24 hours before the meeting.
A FOIA request resulted in a claim that “the College did not find responsive records”
I also asked for an agenda, video, and audio of that meeting.
There was no mandated meeting notice, no agenda, no video and no audio of this special meeting. One can only wonder what happened at that meeting where no record exists for it other than written minutes?
I ask that because looking at all the other meetings surrounding Breuder’s employment, this single pre-employment meeting is void of all the standard records found with every other meeting at COD.
There was another meeting of interest, that until my FOIA request, no video was available on the COD web site. The November 18th, 2008 meeting was the meeting where the board approved a contract for Robert Breuder that was not on the agenda. After my request, that video along with several others are now on the web site.
Watching that video, looking at the minutes, and comparing the agenda, of that meeting it’s clear the action taken does not match the agenda. Sadly, after all the documents in the public domain that pointed to serious problems with Breuder at Harper College, we find not one board member had a single question on the motion of his contract that was not even on the agenda.
Considering the video was “conveniently” missing before my FOIA, I wonder if the State’s Attorney even looked at those records in entirety before deciding to do nothing?
The other records that I requested were closed session recordings of the October 23rd special meeting. I requested those because I believe when a person not affiliated with the school, Mrs. Breuder, who was allowed in closed session, there is no privilege. In fact, not only would privilege be lost, but Mrs. Breuder was given exclusive access to the contents of that closed session.
Under the Freedom of Information act we know that a public body is not permitted to provide anyone exclusive access to public records. In this case the public record is the discussion that is recorded during her presence in the closed session.
We will file a request for review with the Attorney General to see what their view on the matter is.
A simple solution regarding those records would be for the current board to approve the disclosure of those recordings and minutes.