Valuable CoD Intelligence from Kim Savage

Kim Savage continues to pay close attention to what Kathy Hamilton and her friends are up to at the College of DuPage. And she does us all a service by sharing her notes.

It reads to me like ugly High School pettiness.  The notion of transparency was apparently something to talk about in the campaign and not something to be practiced in office.  Nearly $1 million for legal fees in three months, where the typical total for a full year has been half of that?  This Kirk Allen guy seems like a real piece of work.  And Chris Robling?  What’s going on here?  Who are these people?  And what do they want?

COD Board Meeting, Oct 8 at 7pm
SSC 2206

The agenda for Thursday’s meeting is here.

It is reassuring that almost every day someone expresses appreciation for the updates on the COD Board of Trustees that I have been sending. It is equally frustrating that many people are no longer interested in what is happening.

Here are a few highlights of the September 28 meeting:

  • Budget was passed 5-1 and was predicated on the assumptions that the tax levy will be reduced 5% (which will save most home owners between $7 and $15 per year) and tuition will be reduced $5 per semester hour (which will save students $75 per year). The meeting was rescheduled from September 24 when 1 trustee was not available to September 28 when 2 trustees were not available. According to the Daily Herald, the trustee who was not available on September 28 was needed to pass the budget.
  • Chair Hamilton claimed in the public meeting that the absent trustees did not provide even 48 hours notice that they were not attending. Both trustees did respond promptly that they were not available when they received an inquiry about their availability.
  • Kirk Allen from the Edgar County Watchdogs continued with his Political Terrorism, attacking Trustee McGuire and then turned around to wave at the camera in case she was watching from home.

The October 8 Agenda includes:

  • Regular presentations, reports, trustee discussion, and public comment
  • Approval of Trustee Expenses for Trustee Wozniak to attend the ACCT Conference in San Diego
  • Renewal of liability insurance
  • Acceptance of audit reports
  • Approval of computer partnership spending

What is missing?

  • No financial information
  • Online check register and third party invoices have not been updated on the website since July.
  • Still no acknowledgement that political operative Chris Robling was hired as a Special Assistant to the President.

What is significant?

  • Chair Hamilton and Clean Slate clamored for more transparency and since they have been seated, public posting of financial transactions has ceased.
  • Chris Robling is operating in a significant advisory role, has previously publicly stated opinions slandering staff members, and was hired with no public acknowledgement and no board approval. Obviously, this is a demonstration of the new transparency.
  • Approval of expenditures for Trustee Wozniak to attend ACCT is a blatant attempt to swing his support toward the majority of trustees.

Also significant:

Legal fees typically run around $500K per year. According to the Board of Trustees agenda packets…this is what has been paid to the attorneys for May, June, and July…and for whatever reason, no figures have been provided yet for August. So, the figures you will see for the attorneys include only invoices for May, June and July:

Schiff Hardin…………..$466,704
Schuyler,Roche……….$317,563
Rathje,Woodward…….$177,401

Grand total……………..$961,671 !! For 3 months on the job!

(There are also additional legal bills listed for firms previously employed by the Board as they concluded their involvement with various issues)

Wondering about the Alix Partners duo who have replaced the CFO and the Controller? Well, their grand total for 10 weeks on the job is…

$533,391 !!

Remember…the Clean Slate is committed to “clawing back” the $763,000 severance for Dr. Breuder…Who is going to “claw back” these truly outrageous legal expenses? And, guess what? This is only the beginning! Lawsuits loom on the horizon…

Regarding the tuition reduction:

  • Students with demonstrated financial need who have filed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid on a timely basis receive Pell Grants from the Federal government and MAP grants from the State of Illinois. Students who receive the maximum awards do not owe the college tuition after the grants are processed.
  • The disbursement of MAP funding has been halted due to the state’s budget impasse. So, while the college will let students keep another $75 per year in their pocket, the MAP eligible students may have to find up to $1800 to replace their awards (in many cases, the colleges are planning to close the gap, which means that the taxpayers will fund the amount locally).
  • The tuition reduction will impact the college by $2.5 million annually in perpetuity.

Is this really what is best for the College of DuPage?

Next meetings, October 22 and November 19 at 7pm