Mazzochi defends timing of her departure from COD board
State Rep. Deanne Mazzochi is defending her decision to wait several months after her November election to resign from the College of DuPage board, saying she was acting in the school's best interest.
Mazzochi officially stepped down as a COD trustee last Thursday, clearing the way for the board to immediately appoint her successor. Board members chose Glen Ellyn resident and former Republican state House candidate Heidi Holan to fill the remainder of Mazzochi's term, which expires in 2021.
That move came under fire from one candidate running in a four-way race for two available seats on the COD board in the April 2 election.
"The process was not open and not transparent," said Dan Bailey of Wheaton, who is seeking a 6-year term on the panel. The other candidates in the race are Annette Corrigan of Wheaton, Marc Incrocci of Darien and Maureen Dunne of Naperville.
If Mazzochi resigned earlier, Bailey said, voters in the spring election could have picked who filled her seat.
"She should have stepped down in time for it to go up for election," he said. "That would have been the better way to do it."
But Mazzochi says there were several reasons she didn't resign from the COD board soon after being elected in November to represent the 47th House District.
"I'm making my decisions based on what seems to be in the best interest of the college," the Elmhurst Republican said Wednesday.
Mazzochi was chairwoman of the COD board when she ran in the March 2018 GOP primary for the state representative seat last held by Patti Bellock, a Hinsdale Republican. When Bellock resigned early, local Republican leaders appointed Mazzochi in July to fill the seat.
Her plan was to stay on the COD board through the fall election.
"I made a commitment to my fellow board members that, if I won the election, I would ensure a smooth transition," Mazzochi said.
But then former COD President Ann Rondeau unexpectedly announced in late October that she was leaving.
Rondeau's last day at COD was Dec. 31 and the board had to select an interim president. It agreed to appoint Brian W. Caputo, the school's vice president of administrative affairs and treasurer, to the top post. As a result, there was a "cascade of administrative roles" that needed to be filled, Mazzochi said.
"That's a lot of transition," she said, "and you have to manage that responsibly."
In addition, the board was working on a facilities master plan.
"It just wasn't fair to drop this in the lap of a new chairman and a new board member," she said.
In order for her seat to appear on the April ballot, Mazzochi would have needed to step down and create the vacancy. Administrators and other board members didn't want that to happen.
"Dr. Rondeau actually requested that I stay longer," Mazzochi said. "She was concerned about the institutional management and having a leadership vacuum at the top."
Mazzochi said the board has since filled key positions, completed the facilities master plan and picked Frank Napolitano as board chairman. A search for a new president also has begun.
"I think everybody feels comfortable that we're in a good place to move forward," she said.