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updated: 9/22/2015 4:39 PM

Rauner ends severance deals like the one COD's Breuder got

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  • Gov. Bruce Rauner signed legislation today to cap community college administrators' severance packages.

      Gov. Bruce Rauner signed legislation today to cap community college administrators' severance packages.
    Mike Riopell | Staff Photographer

  • Robert L. Breuder

      Robert L. Breuder
    Paul Michna | Staff Photographer

 
 

Severance packages for community college administrators will be capped in the future under a law signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner Tuesday, creating one legacy of the $763,000 deal given to former College of DuPage President Robert Breuder earlier this year.

The new law limits future community college severance packages to one year of pay and benefits and restricts the length of some contracts in the future.

The cap was a direct result of the financial package given to Breuder in January and is the highest-profile change in law that followed the COD controversy.

"Abuses of taxpayers that arose at the College of DuPage are now being transformed into serious reforms statewide," COD board Chairwoman Kathy Hamilton said in a statement.

The COD board, led by a new majority elected in April, voided Breuder's contract just last week.

Rauner made no public comment when announcing he signed the legislation. It takes effect immediately.

Winning its approval was no easy task for state Rep. Jeanne Ives, a Wheaton Republican, who faced resistance from lawmakers of both parties who argued college officials around the state shouldn't have their hands tied because College of DuPage trustees gave out a controversial benefit.

"While the new board seems to be acting more in line with the best interests of the college's stakeholders, this new law will prevent mismanagement at the levels we've seen at COD from happening in the future," Ives said in a statement.

Ives got an assist in the Illinois Senate from Democrats who tried to target college executive pay and benefits with a lengthy report that was released even before University of Illinois leaders rejected a $400,000 bonus for outgoing Chancellor Phyllis Wise. Those Democrats have signaled more proposals could be coming.

"This is a step in the right direction. However, there still needs to be additional protections in place to shed some sunshine on the use state funds at public higher education institutions," state Sen. Tom Cullerton, a Villa Park Democrat, said.

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