Mazzochi steps down from College of DuPage board; replacement appointed
College of DuPage board member Deanne Mazzochi, who was elected to the state House in November, resigned from the panel Thursday, clearing the way for the remaining board members to immediately appoint her successor rather than have the position be filled by the voters had she resigned earlier.
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.
Holan, who in 2014 and 2016 ran as a Republican for the 46th House seat held by state Rep. Deb Conroy, thanked the board Thursday for the opportunity to serve.
"I will do my best and I promise I will work with each one of you," she said.
Mazzochi, a Republican elected in the fall to represent the 47th House district, delivered farewell remarks Thursday, recalling how she became involved in COD matters after controversy erupted over a $763,000 retirement package for former college President Robert Breuder.
"The college deserved then as it does now leadership who are public servants not public masters," she said.
"There were plenty of stormy seas for a while, and there were some who still bought into the dysfunctional vision," she added. "But I am very grateful that the vast majority of our administrators, faculty, students and residents, as well as some of my fellow trustees, understood the college's vital mission, helped us right the ship, and ultimately brought our community together so that we could accomplish quite a lot."
Mazzochi said the process for her replacement has been in progress for several weeks and she committed to remaining in her COD post until there was sufficient board consensus on her replacement.
On Sunday, Mazzochi spoke further about the process. She said the COD board followed the board policy that states the board members get to fill vacancies, in accordance with state statute. All trustees shall be involved in the selection process.
If they can't agree within 60 days, then the chairman of the Illinois Community College Board picks the replacement.
"After I was sworn in, that would be the appropriate time for me to start the transition process, and that's exactly what I did," Mazzochi said.
At the January board meeting, she said she resigned as chairman. The next meeting was in February.
"I made sure that the board had a consensus candidate for my replacement, so that we didn't run the risk of the same problems that we had when Kathy Hamilton resigned (in 2015). There was a consensus candidate. So I resigned, and they voted her in."
When Hamilton resigned, there was a 3-3 vote on the board, and three board members chose to boycott several meetings, she said.
"I absolutely wanted to ensure that that episode never occurred again, which is why I shared with (COD board Chairman) Frank Napolitano that I would resign when he felt comfortable the board members were in a position to name my replacement and vote on it," Mazzochi said.
She added that she abstained from Thursday's vote on her replacement and tried not to insert herself into those discussions.
"(Holan) was not the only person under consideration. She has served on the board committees. She herself is a COD student.
"She certainly has been involved, and I know all of the trustees had exposure to her before this past Thursday's vote."