Boycotting COD trustees want special meeting
After boycotting two meetings in less than a month, three College of DuPage trustees say they'll attend a special session they called for Jan. 14 as long as it follows the agenda they created.
Trustees Dianne McGuire, Erin Birt and Joseph Wozniak canceled a special meeting they scheduled for Thursday after three other members of the fiercely divided six-member COD board organized another special session that started 15 minutes earlier.
The agenda for the meeting organized by Deanne Mazzochi, Frank Napolitano and Charles Bernstein had all the items of the agenda prepared by the three other trustees, although some were in a different order. Several other items also were added.
McGuire, Birt and Wozniak refused to participate in the meeting headed by Mazzochi. They then accused their colleagues of intentionally interfering with their special meeting "by scheduling a competing meeting" in the same room.
McGuire, Birt and Wozniak now want their canceled meeting to be held next week.
"We call on trustees Mazzochi, Bernstein and Napolitano to respect our right to call this meeting and to set the agenda," McGuire said Friday. "We will gladly attend a special meeting called by the other trustees so long as it is on a date after Jan. 14."
Mazzochi has called for an agenda planning meeting on Monday, but McGuire refused to participate "because the agenda is already set."
McGuire said in an email that any attempt to alter the agenda for the Jan. 14 special meeting would be in violation of the Illinois Public Community College Act.
"If they really want to hear what we have to say, it is all on the special meeting agenda for Jan. 14," she said.
Mazzochi reiterated Friday that McGuire should meet with her to review the agenda, since the chairman of the board -- the duties of which Mazzochi has assumed since former Chairwoman Kathy Hamilton resigned in December -- "is designated to produce the agenda."
"Trustees Napolitano, Bernstein and I have always agreed to consider all agenda items Trustee McGuire proposed," she said. "Where we disagree is we simply prioritize the vital and immediately needed college business over any other matters."
In the meantime, McGuire, Birt and Wozniak already have said they will not attend the board's regularly scheduled meeting on Jan. 21. Mazzochi called that decision "incredibly unfortunate."
If the Jan. 14 meeting happens, it will be the first time all six remaining COD trustees have gathered since before Hamilton's Dec. 13 resignation. Her departure for unspecified personal reasons left a hole on the board and eliminated a four-person majority that Hamilton and her allies -- Mazzochi, Bernstein and Napolitano -- created after the April election.
The inability of the two sides to find common ground on virtually anything comes as the state's largest community college has been placed on two years' probation by the Higher Learning Commission for a variety of concerns, including the inability of board members to work together.
If the school does not address those issues within the next two years, the Higher Learning Commission has threatened to remove its accreditation.