State Senate bill caps community college severances, contract lengths

  • The $762,000 severance package given to College of DuPage President Robert Breuder is inspiring legislation to curb either such severance packages or contracts given to community college employees.

      The $762,000 severance package given to College of DuPage President Robert Breuder is inspiring legislation to curb either such severance packages or contracts given to community college employees. Mark Black | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 5/30/2015 5:42 PM

A dispute over a proposal to cap the size of community college severance deals and limit the length of contracts was set aside by lawmakers Saturday as they moved it one step away from Gov. Bruce Rauner's desk.

The plan was inspired by the College of DuPage's $762,000 severance package given to President Robert Breuder earlier this year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The proposal, sponsored by Sen. Michael Connelly, a Lisle Republican, would limit community college buyout packages to one year of the employee's salary and benefits. It would also confine contracts with a determinate start and end date to four years.

The proposal would also outlaw contracts that have rollover options that allow an employee's contract to be extended without public input.

The proposal moved out of the Senate Saturday with a 53-1 vote despite earlier in the week facing a setback because of a dispute over contract lengths. It now goes back to the House, which approved a somewhat different plan.

Groups representing community college presidents and trustees scrutinized the plan over the past week, arguing that regulating contract lengths takes stability away from community colleges and removes local control from college boards.

"Local control is the number one issue for us as trustees," Illinois Council of Community College Presidents lawyer Tom Ryder said.

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