New public relations firm triggers latest dispute at COD

Updated 3/12/2015 9:59 PM

College of DuPage Trustee Kathy Hamilton is blasting the school for using a Chicago-based public relations firm to help it address a growing number of questions concerning oversight at the Glen Ellyn campus.

In a memo dated Wednesday, COD board Chairman Erin Birt said the board's legal counsel, Franczek Radelet, has retained Res Publica Group to "assist us in our communication efforts to ensure the public and media have the facts and to prevent the spread of misinformation."


"It's our responsibility," Birt wrote, "and one we take seriously, to be transparent and forthright with our constituents."

But Hamilton, a vocal critic of COD President Robert Breuder and Birt, said in a written statement that the board didn't give its lawyers authority to hire a communications firm.

"If she (Birt) thinks a slick campaign from Chicago will erase (Breuder's) failures, then she is making the case for new leadership at COD more eloquently than anything I could ever say," Hamilton said in the statement.

Hamilton said she is demanding to see "every piece of paper, such as the contract and all emails that led to the P.R. firm's hiring. Further, I want to know exactly what the firm is tasked to do, and when, and how much it is costing taxpayers.

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"Flagrantly spending other people's money got the board into this mess -- and this action proves it has learned nothing," she said.

Attorney Respicio Vazquez, the board's legal counsel, said his firm, Franczek Radelet, retained the communications firm.

Birt could not be reached for comment.

COD has been under fire recently, most notably for the board's vote to give Breuder $762,868 to retire about three years before his existing contract's expiration date.

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