College of DuPage approves 3-year contract with new president

Updated 5/5/2016 10:39 PM
  • College of DuPage trustees on Thursday signed off on a three-year contract with Ann Rondeau, the school's next president.

      College of DuPage trustees on Thursday signed off on a three-year contract with Ann Rondeau, the school's next president. Paul Michna | Staff Photographer

College of DuPage trustees signed a contract Thursday night putting Ann Rondeau at the helm of the school for the next three years.

Rondeau, a retired Navy vice admiral, will become the first female president at the state's largest community college. She officially begins the job July 1.

"The board has learned from its past experience," Chairwoman Deanne Mazzochi said. "We did try to make this a straightforward contract -- no hidden clauses or benefits -- and we do view this as a model of transparency."

The board voted 4-0 to approve Rondeau's three-year contract. Trustee Joseph Wozniak abstained. Trustees Erin Birt and Dianne McGuire did not attend Thursday's meeting.

Rondeau, appointed president earlier this week after a nationwide search, will receive a $325,000 base salary in the first year of the agreement. The board will then determine annual pay raises of no more than 6 percent for the last two years of the pact.

That cap allows the college to avoid paying penalties established in a state law meant to discourage school districts from giving late-career pay raises that boost educator pensions.

Rondeau's contract lacks many of the perks that had been awarded to her predecessor, Robert Breuder, who was fired last fall and criticized for his spending at a college-owned restaurant and a college-paid membership at a private hunting club in Dundee Township.

Breuder's contract called for automatic one-year extensions every April, unless either he or the board gave written notice of intent to terminate it. Those contract extensions, which began in 2010 and were not made public, helped drive up the cost of the $763,000 severance awarded to Breuder last year and later revoked.

The fallout from the deal led to a state law that limits community college severance payouts to one year of pay and benefits. The law also restricts the length of administrator contracts to up to four years.

Rondeau's agreement runs through June 30, 2019, caps any severance deal at 75 percent of her annual base salary and requires reviews with the board each year.

Her benefits are "comparable" to those of other senior administrators, Mazzochi said. Those include sick leave, medical insurance, a qualified annuity contribution up to $18,000 and computer and Internet access.

Rondeau, 64, will move from Vienna, Virginia, to a home within the boundaries of the community college district. If necessary, the college could reimburse her for temporary housing and travel expenses.

Whether the college would reimburse Rondeau for expenses outlined in monthly reports would be subject to review and approval by the board at a public meeting.

COD also could reimburse her for costs for attending educational conferences or similar activities "commonly extended" to other administrators.

On Friday, Rondeau will visit the Glen Ellyn campus for the first time since trustees named her president.

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