COD candidates don't want Breuder picking replacement
With College of DuPage President Robert Breuder a year away from retirement, candidates in the school trustee race are offering differing views on what traits the next president should have.
However, several candidates agree the future president of the Glen Ellyn community college shouldn't be someone chosen by Breuder.
Candidate Deanne Mazzochi said during a Tuesday night forum that she doesn't even want Breuder to participate in the search for his replacement.
"Ultimately ... I would hope that Dr. Breuder is not involved in the next college search project," said Mazzochi, one of 12 candidates vying for three seats on the COD board in next month's election.
Mazzochi's remark was made during a candidate forum that the League of Women Voters of Glen Ellyn presented at Glenbard South High School.
The other candidates in the COD board race are Frank Napolitano of Bloomingdale, Charles Bernstein of Wheaton, Roger Kempa of Darien, Dan Bailey of Wheaton, Claire Ball of Addison, David Carlin of Naperville, Matt Gambs of Naperville, Sandra Pihos of Glen Ellyn, incumbent Nancy Svoboda of Downers Grove, incumbent Kim Savage of Darien, and Joseph M. Wozniak of Naperville.
Tuesday's forum gave 11 of the candidates the opportunity to make a public pitch to more than 120 people. Wozniak was the only candidate who didn't participate.
The April 7 election comes months after COD trustees faced criticism in January for giving Breuder a $762,868 buyout as part of an agreement that has him retiring roughly three years before his contract was scheduled to expire.
As part of the deal, Breuder will be paid about three times his base salary when he retires in March 2016.
The agreement also allows for him to help the board in the search to find his replacement.
Some candidates for the college board say that shouldn't happen.
Just last month, Bailey and Kempa said during a Daily Herald endorsement interview that they want Breuder excluded from the search process.
"I would move forward and hire a new president without Dr. Breuder intervening in that process," Kempa said.
During Tuesday's forum, Kempa said that there needs to be "a strong" vetting process. "I am looking for a screening committee to select the top three (candidates for the position) for the board."
Pihos said she would like to see the search for a new president start as soon as the new board is seated.
"It needs to be a national, extensive search," Pihos said. "We have to bring all the stakeholders together to hire a president with strong academic credentials and a strong administrative background -- someone with vision, integrity, honesty."
She said the next president also needs to understand what issues COD has been dealing with so the college can move forward.
"That person also needs to understand that they work for the board and the board works for the taxpayers," she said.
Mazzochi said the next president will have "a lot of work to do to reestablish trust" with the COD community and with the public at large. The person, she said, will need to understand that his or her role is to be a public servant -- not "a public master."
Savage said she wants the next president be someone who is "a collaborative leader." She also said COD needs to involve "all the stakeholders in the community" in the search process.
Svoboda, meanwhile, said the next president needs to have integrity, honesty, impeccable credentials and educational degrees. The individual also needs experience as a college president.
"Our (college) is one of the largest in the nation," she said. "It is very complex with different kinds of problems and issues to deal with. So we have to make sure that we have someone that has experience."
While Wozniak wasn't able to attend Tuesday's forum, he said last month that he would like the college to hire a woman to replace Breuder. "I think it would give us a new direction to move on and settle everything that we've done," Wozniak said.