New College of DuPage policies give trustees more control over president
In response to a rash of controversies at College of DuPage, school trustees have revised a list of board policies, including several that give them more control over the president.
Officials say the changes to the nine policies during Thursday night's board meeting are part of an ongoing effort to reform the Glen Ellyn-based community college, which has faced months of criticism about its spending practices and is the subject of both state and federal investigations.
At the end of April, COD trustees put school President Robert Breuder on paid administrative leave. The board also hired a law firm to spearhead an internal probe into COD's policies, personnel, practices and finances.
Board Chairwoman Kathy Hamilton says some of the problems at COD were caused by previous boards being unable to provide proper oversight of the administration. That's because they delegated too many responsibilities to the position of the president, she said.
"The administration has too much authority, and the board has less authority," she said.
So several of the policy changes were focused on reversing that situation.
One change, for example, requires future COD presidents to organize and manage the school within board policy and "at the board's direction." Another says the president can't adopt administrative procedures without getting board approval.
Trustees also can modify or revoke any of those procedures at any time.
"It's a significant policy shift for us," said Hamilton, adding that the revised policies will give the board "more control over the president."
Another change places a $335-per-year limit on how much a trustee can be reimbursed for travel or other charges when attending conferences.
Hamilton said the annual cap on reimbursements is needed "to prevent abuse of the taxpayers' money."
If trustees participate in professional conferences, institutes or activities, the policy suggests that they "participate in such events locally (or online) to avoid the expense associated with travel."