Election results mean new power at beleaguered College of DuPage
College of DuPage Board Vice Chair Katharine Hamilton wants school President Robert Breuder to step down before his planned 2016 departure date.
And after Tuesday’s election, she should have the votes to make that happen.
Breuder has been at the center of several recent controversies at the school, which is the largest community college in Illinois. In January, the Board of Trustees voted 6-1 to give him a $763,000 buyout, with Hamilton casting the lone no vote.
And the Chicago Tribune has reported that the DuPage County State’s Attorney is investigating lavish spending by Breuder and his staff.
Hamilton said DuPage County voters were responding to those issues when they elected three new trustees.
Deanne Mazzochi, Frank Napolitano and Charles Bernstein secured the three available seats on the board in the consolidated election on April 7 out of a field of 12. All three of them ran together under the “Clean Slate” ticket supported by Hamilton. They beat two incumbent board members and a former state representative.
Together with Hamilton, the three will make up a new majority on the seven member board. The board will elect a new chair in May and Hamilton expects to replace current Chair Erin Birt.
“We’re gonna look at perhaps clawing back the excessive golden handshake that was provided to Dr. Brueder, and in addition to that, some reform policies that will restructure the college in a way that the board will have more power to lead the college,” Hamilton said.
She called the recent controversies “a symptom of the crisis in governance” at the College of DuPage.
“The failure of the current board to provide oversight is startling. So hopefully this new majority- and I’m not just saying hopefully - I know that this new majority will be able to clamp down on those problems,” Hamilton added.
Their plans include putting all of the college’s transactions online for scrutiny by the public and creating a new audit committee.
In a statement, a college spokesman said the school looks “forward to beginning a new chapter at the College of DuPage as we welcome the elected trustees to the Board.”
Board Chair Erin Birt declined to be interviewed.
Patrick Smith is a WBEZ producer and reporter. Follow him on twitter @pksmid.