Lester: Breuder's longtime secretary pink-slipped by COD

 
 
Editor's note: While the column accurately quotes former College of DuPage Board member Kim Savage defending President Robert Breuder's onetime secretary Monica Miller, the comment itself is ambiguous. To clarify, Savage says she did not mean to imply any nefarious conduct by Breuder.
College of DuPage President Robert Breuder
  College of DuPage President Robert Breuder - Paul Michna | Staff Photographer

Five months after beleaguered College of DuPage President Robert Breuder was put on leave, his longtime secretary has been given a pink slip.

The move to eliminate Monica Miller's position is being written off by college officials as a necessary downsizing. But critics say it's a case of throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

Here's the rundown: Miller has been Breuder's personal secretary -- a nontenured position -- for more than six years. Breuder's office also employed two other assistants and a receptionist.

When Joe Collins became acting president, he kept his own personal assistant, and college officials say there simply isn't enough work for everyone. Miller's been informed Oct. 30 will be her last day, unless she is hired for one of two campus openings that match her skills.

Chris Robling, a public relations strategist for the board, sent a statement that the COD administration "reviews positions periodically and takes action as is warranted by work demands and effective deployment of resources."

But former Trustee Kim Savage questioned why Miller was fired.

"This is the most nice and considerate person you'd ever meet in that role," Savage said. "Her agenda would be to do what he (Breuder) needed to do his job. She wouldn't go and do nefarious things."

Miller hasn't returned calls seeking comment.

Improper filing

Meanwhile, the State Board of Elections ruled that the "Clean Slate" College of DuPage Political Action Committee acted improperly in failing to report a $20,000 loan from another political committee tied to board President Kathy Hamilton. The Clean Slate PAC helped sweep in a new board majority in April.

Board of Elections general counsel Ken Menzel tells me the staff will weigh an appropriate fine, which could be as much as half the $20,000 loan. That's expected to be announced at the elections board's October or November meeting.

#FlatFrancis

Catholic Extension's Matt Paolelli poses with a giant cardboard cutout of Pope Francis in front of the Richard J. Daley Center in Chicago Tuesday.
Catholic Extension's Matt Paolelli poses with a giant cardboard cutout of Pope Francis in front of the Richard J. Daley Center in Chicago Tuesday. - Courtesy of Matt Paolelli

A former St. Viator classmate of mine, Matt Paolelli, was the mastermind behind Catholic Extension's giant #FlatFrancis cutout of

Pope Francis
Pope Francis - Associated Press File Photo
Pope Francis stationed at the Richard J. Daley Center in Chicago this week. The group's social media campaign is seeking to welcome the pope to America by having people around the country
Pope Francis meets #FlatFrancis.
Pope Francis meets #FlatFrancis. - Associated Press File Photo
take photos with the cutouts. Paolelli, of Park Ridge, spent recent months blogging about his successful fight against Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Taking steps

Striking teachers in Prospect Heights District 23 were getting a heck of a workout this week. Patty Walsh of the Prospect Heights Teachers Association says teachers wearing Fitbits were logging as much as 16 to 17 miles a day marching back and forth on Palatine Road with signs. The average was nine miles.

Selfie

District 23 teachers union president Bob Miller is a physical education teacher at Betsy Ross Elementary.
District 23 teachers union president Bob Miller is a physical education teacher at Betsy Ross Elementary. - Courtesy of Bob Miller

Here's District 23 teachers union president Bob Miller, a physical education teacher at Betsy Ross Elementary. It's Miller's first term as president, and he tells me he never once imagined the district would go on strike. He believed all sides had learned their lessons during the last set of contentious contract negotiations a year and a half ago.

Atoning

Members of Long Grove's Temple Chai on the Buffalo Creek trail.
Members of Long Grove's Temple Chai on the Buffalo Creek trail. -

Taking a run this week at Buffalo Creek, one of Lake County's beautiful trails, I noticed a group of people holding cups of cubed bread, without any ducks in sight. What was it, I wondered? Members of Long Grove's Temple Chai were using the bread as symbolic sins to be cast away as part of the Jewish day of atonement, Yom Kippur, which began at sundown Tuesday.

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