Bills Addressing Malfeasance at College of DuPage Head to Governor for Final Action

Legislation that limits the size and scope of community college buyout packages and severance agreements, and limits the length of employment contracts, has passed in the Illinois House and Senate and now moves to the Governor’s desk to be signed.

In response to the $763,000 contract buyout approved by College of DuPage Trustees for President Dr. Robert Breuder earlier this year, State Representative Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) carried HB3593, which would limit the amount of future agreements to no more than one year of salary and benefits. “The agreement that the majority of the COD trustees approved for their underperforming president was excessive and not in the best interest of the taxpayers who fund the college,” said Ives. “I would have liked to have been able to roll back his agreement, but at least moving forward there will be taxpayer protections in place.”

The bill limits employment contracts with a set start and end date to no more than four years. “Long-term contracts have become problematic in instances where an employee is underperforming and a change needs to be made,” Ives said. “While more work needs to be done, this legislation is a step in the right direction.”

In addition to HB3593, Ives was also the Chief Sponsor this year of HR55, which directs the Illinois Auditor General to conduct a thorough performance audit of all State moneys provided to the College of DuPage for fiscal years 2007-2014. That bill was approved unanimously in May.

State Representative Margo McDermod (R-Mokena) also took action to address issues at COD and other colleges and institutions this year through HB303, which adds transparency to publicly-funded severance agreements by making them subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). “Given all that has come to light about the financial mismanagement at the College of DuPage and other government institutions, public trust has eroded,” said McDermed. “Taxpayers have the absolute right to know how their money is being spent, especially when that money accompanies the departure of a government employee.”

Whereas the approved HR55 does not require the signature of the Governor, Ives’ HB3593 and McDermod’s HB303 are expected to land on the Governor’s desk for his signature within the next few weeks.