College of DuPage President Buyout

The College of DuPage has again voted 6-1 to keep the severance package of President Robert Breuder at nearly $763,000.

The move prompted a cry of public outrage from the crowd of nearly 400 people who turned out for a standing room only special meeting called at the College for a revote on the College of DuPage President’s retirement deal.

The nearly 60 speakers included members of the public, students, employees and State Representatives, the majority of whom expressed extreme disappointment in the Board of Trustees and the President.

“You don’t get it, thank you to the board for your fiscal stewardship in paying someone $762,000 to voluntarily resign a job,” said one person who spoke that night.

“I’ve never seen you in my life before Mr. Breuder, but I can smell your arrogance from here,” said another person.

At one point tensions were so high that an officer was required to escort one speaker away.

But despite three hours of often scathing public comment, the board’s vote remained unchanged. They argued it was their duty to honor the deal.

“In an ideal world we wouldn’t have severance packages, but we do have a contract and if we end the contract we owe him the balance of the contract,” said Kim Savage, Trustee on the College of DuPage Board.

It was the same sentiment expressed at the initial meeting on the topic just six days earlier. Once the buyout was approved there, public watchdog groups demanded another meeting, filing suit against the college on the grounds that the board had violated the state’s Open Meetings Act.
During both votes, President Breuder was present, but silent. One can’t say the same for his critics, some of whom have been moved into action.

“There will be legislation filed, I filed it last year, I’m going to file it again this year that says that employee contracts need to be viewed by the public with a 14 day posting period and one public hearing,” said Jeanne Ives, State Representative for District 42.

Besides the hefty payout, the agreement also calls for the school’s Homeland Security Building to be named after President Breuder.

It was noted by several at the meeting that three Board members’ seats are up for grabs in the April 7 election.

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