COD board argues over hiring firm to find new executives
An executive search firm will be used to help the College of DuPage board find the school's next president and three other new administrators.
After a lot of debate, the board of trustees Thursday night voted to hire William E. Hay & Co. to assist them with the search for a president, chief financial officer, controller and executive vice president of development. The 4-2 vote also authorized William E. Hay to "partner with an educational search firm to assist in its efforts."
Trustees Joe Wozniak and Dianne McGuire voted against the deal. Trustee Erin Birt was absent from the meeting.
Acting interim President Joseph Collins has been overseeing the daily operations of the state's largest community college since April, when former President Robert Breuder was placed on paid administrative leave amid state and federal investigations into COD's spending and administrative practices.
Last month, trustees fired Breuder roughly five months before he was scheduled to step down. He became the third high-ranking administrator to be terminated this fall at COD, after Thomas Glaser and Lynn Sapyta.
Glaser served as the school's senior vice president of administration and treasurer, and Sapyta was assistant vice president of financial affairs and controller.
In addition to the firings, another member of COD's senior management team, Catherine Brod, retired at the end of October.
Brod served as the school's executive vice president of development.
As part of that job, she served as executive director for the COD Foundation, which raises money to increase educational and cultural opportunities for the school.
Because multiple posts need to be filled, it was recommended that the search firm assist in finding candidates for all those positions.
"We do have four positions that are open," board Chairwoman Kathy Hamilton said. "Filling them at this point provides an opportunity for a major cultural improvement. Reform at our college is mandated. We should fill these spots."
But the meeting became heated when McGuire started arguing that the board should focus only on finding a new president. She said the future president should hire the individuals for the other three positions.
"I think a new president should be able to put a cabinet together in any way he thinks or she thinks fit," McGuire said. "I don't know if we should tie the hands of the new president and do this on our own. I think it's trustee overreach."
After an exchange between McGuire and Hamilton, the board had to take a roughly 10-minute break before wrapping up the lengthy discussion and taking the final vote.
As part of the deal, William E. Hay & Co. will be paid an amount not to exceed $292,500, officials said.
Next week, the school's 18-member presidential search committee is slated to begin the process of looking for candidates, according to a tentative timeline on the school's website.
Committee members eventually will go through resumes from applicants and pick three to five finalists by February. COD trustees are expected to make the final selection of the next president sometime in March, according to the timeline.