Endorsements: Fenne, Markwell for College of DuPage board

The Daily Herald Editorial Board
Posted3/12/2017 1:00 AM

What a difference an election cycle makes at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn.

Two years ago, it seemed like everyone and their brothers were running for the board, and the campaigns were, to say the least, vitriolic.

This year, the contest for three seats on the board is remarkably calm.

None of the incumbents are seeking another term. Erin Birt and Dianne McGuire, now on the outs as part of a minority faction following board turnover two years ago in the wake of public uproar over a buyout agreement with former college President Robert Breuder, are stepping aside. Vice Chair David Olsen is not running after he was elected last November to the Illinois General Assembly.

COD voters are left with four newcomers seeking a total of three seats. Retiree Alan L. Bennett of Lombard is running unopposed for a two-year term. The competition is in the race for two 6-year terms. There, Wheaton Library Board President Christine Fenne, Addison Elementary District 4 school board member Taso Triantafillos and COD student Daniel Markwell of Lombard are competing in a remarkably collegial race.

We like all three, but our endorsements go to Daniel Markwell and Christine Fenne.

Here's why. Philosophically, we have long opposed the idea of board members serving in two elective positions. This concern is rooted not just in any potential for conflicts of interest but also in the lack of focus a double-dipper is apt to be able to bring to each responsibility.

We like Triantafillos well enough, but we think he could contribute better by focusing his efforts solely on District 4 or solely on COD.

Admittedly, we're picking a little at nits here. Fenne also hopes to serve on two boards. Frankly, we're uncomfortable with that too, and were there a fourth candidate, we'd probably rule her out on the same grounds, but in choosing between Fenne and Triantafillos, we choose Fenne because her second position at least is not an elected one.

Meanwhile, we're intrigued by Markwell's candidacy. Why not have a student serve in a voting position on a community college board? It's a constituency that is woefully underrepresented. On top of that, we're impressed by Markwell's depth of knowledge about the issues and the maturity of judgment he offers.

His candidacy may be a long shot, but we heartily recommend him.

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