Lawmakers trying to figure out how to punish COD, exempt other schools

  • College of DuPage President Robert Breuder stands in front of the Homeland Security Education Center building that would be named for him under his severance deal.

      College of DuPage President Robert Breuder stands in front of the Homeland Security Education Center building that would be named for him under his severance deal. Scott Sanders | Staff Photographer

 
 

Lawmakers piled up a flurry of proposals after the controversy over a $763,000 severance package for College of DuPage President Robert Breuder, but some of them are going to need a little retooling.

At issue: How to give COD a hard time for the severance deal without putting unnecessary limits on other colleges and universities across the state.

State Sen. Tom Cullerton, a Villa Park Democrat, wants to put tight restrictions on any kind of deal that includes putting the names of departing college presidents on buildings. Part of Breuder's deal is to name the college's Homeland Security Education Center after him.

But Cullerton said he's heard from people from other colleges and universities around the state who want the option of honoring a president with a building name. They asked him to rewrite his legislation to make it more narrow.

And he says he's happy to do it.

"The good guys, we don't want to penalize," Cullerton said.

Saving up

State Rep. Jeanne Ives, a Wheaton Republican, won a House committee's approval this week for the state's top auditor to probe COD's operation, keeping that proposal alive while lawmakers work to get college officials to pay for it.

The audit will cost up to $234,000 and Illinois Auditor General Bill Holland says it's not in his budget.

Ives also presented a plan to limit the amount of operating cash a college can keep on hand. The thinking goes that the less tax money a college stockpiles, the less potential there is for a big buyout.

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The House committee kept the plan alive, but expressed concern.

They pointed out that Gov. Bruce Rauner has proposed a budget that includes deep cuts across state government. If community colleges get hit, wouldn't it be nice for them to have some savings? "Many of us have responsible community colleges," state Rep. David Leitch, a Peoria Republican, said. "I thoroughly understand why you're going after College of DuPage. But I would hate to have (colleges) lumped in there."

COD Trustee Kathy Hamilton presented the plan with Ives, and Ives said she's agreed to keep working on the idea.

"We're happy to have comprehensive hearings on all of these matters and come up with a solution," she said.

Capping payouts

Moving ahead are two plans from state Rep. Ron Sandack, a Downers Grove Republican, that would cap the size of certain severance packages and take away state money to match the amount of such deals.

"If locals want to do it, it's on their dime," he said.

Sandack said Republicans might try to wrap all these individual ideas into one piece of legislation before lawmakers' spring session is over.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Vote bragging

For voters who find that bragging about having done your civic duty is one of the best parts of casting a ballot, Cook County Clerk David Orr has made a change you'll want to know about.

Suburban Cook County voters April 7 will get a newly designed "I voted" sticker

A red, white and blue circle replaces the traditional oval sticker and the English "I Voted" lettering is followed by a translation in Spanish, Chinese and Hindi.

A spokeswoman said the county changed stickers after running out of old ones and wanted a new look. About five elections' worth, or 2.5 million stickers, cost $8,900.

"These dynamic and patriotic stickers will be in great demand this election, but you can only get one if you vote!" Orr said in a statement.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

But only one per person, please.

Local honor

Collin Corbett, of Palatine, a Republican political strategist, was honored by the Illinois Jaycees as one of its Outstanding Young Persons for 2015.

"I'm so thankful to the Jaycees for this award, but even more so for providing young people an opportunity to be part of something bigger than themselves and realize that 'service to humanity is the best work of life,'" Corbett told the conservative blog, Illinois Review.

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