COD Board of Trustees Approves Tax Abatement
The COD Board of Trustees voted unanimously on Thursday night to approve a tax abatement in District #502, essentially declining a $1 million dollar increase in next year's operating budget.
Prior to voting, members of the board expressed confusion about the proposal presented to the board by the College's Chief Financial Officer, Tom Glaser. In brief remarks, he explained the measure would freeze the property tax levy for the school district in the coming year.
The nearly five hour meeting included a lengthy closed session, and board members continued to squabble about the Trustee's policies for public comments. Board vice chair Kathy Hamilton reiterated her objections to assigning agenda-related comments to the start of the meeting and general comments to the end of the meeting, stating "It is a sad commentary on the Board's regard for First Amendment Rights."
The administration also reported on a survey project outsourced to Comiskey Research, which compared District #502 community perceptions about the College of DuPage to survey results from a previous study. Comiskey reported on results from 400 respondents, including their views about four year bachelor's degrees at COD.
After the presentation, Trustee Hamilton questioned the survey methods and how its questions were framed. Hamilton stated that she rejected the results and Comiskey's conclusions.
The Board also approved a contract with the Scott Marquardt group for lobbying services, and discussed and approved in a 6 to 1 vote an audit of WDCB, the campus radio station (Hamilton voted no).
During the meeting, more than a dozen community members and college employees spoke during public comments, based on concerns about expenditures, transparency, and the size of the boardroom and seating provided for the public. Several speakers responded to a November speech by Trustee Dianne McGuire in which she defended the COD Board of Trustees and read a poem by Martin Niemoller. Matthew Tyrmand, Deputy Director of American Transparency, stated that he visited from New York in order to address her comments. He said, "McGuire used rhetoric evoking Nazi Tyranny in a comparison with those who would demand honesty and integrity in government. Those that invoke Nazis in a spending debate have no place IN government and especially in a position of trust in a public educational institution."