BOT 9/28/15 Agenda #8-9, plus #17

8. Adoption of FY2016 Budget

Chair Hamilton reviews history of development of budget, has been posted for several months, public comment heard.

Bernstein makes an amendment to reduce a line item by $6m. Passes 4-1, Wozniak against.

Wozniak reads a comment from McGuire, who is not present. She is against it, too little revenue and enormous expenses. High legal fees. Wozniak agrees with her.

Bernstein: I respectfully disagree. Notes previous budgeting practices. Legal expenses: we are cleaning up a bad situation.

Wozniak: spoke with Waterleaf GM just before it closed. If it continued as it were, next year it would turn a profit. Takes time for a restaurant to establish itself.

Napolitano: Legal costs stem from federal investigations into matters that pre-date many members of the board. We don’t know what those investigations will or will not reveal.

Hamilton: always a lot of discussion about what we’re spending on lawyers and accountants, and it is because we have to comply with federal investigations. Hamilton reads a closing statement: We are telling the truth – the last few budgets were not management tools, but political operations. Fund balance grew and grew with taxpayer and tuition dollars we should not have collected – but the budget figures did not reflect what we really needed, and anyone who asked questions was silenced. Reads an annual amount adding up to $126million total we were played for cash cows. No one challenged spending. Budget was used to hide money. Start now with new foundation, fiscal certainty. No budget in COD’s history has had more public involvement. This budget puts students first, respects taxpayers, recognizes staff – appropriate raises, cuts the deficit from $16m to $11m. Marks the end of outrageous waste at the Waterleaf. Funds the clean-up costs for investigations left by prior boards and the prior boards’ utter failure to manage employees. Fund balance more than $200m in the bank. Some of that will be used as insurance against problems with state funding. Next year’s budget will be our product from beginning to end, voters deserve change at COD, restore credibility, telling the truth about important things. Major improvement, points the way.

Roll call vote: all vote yes except Wozniak.

17. Tuition and Fee Proposal – corollary to budget. This is the agenda item that was amended when the agenda was approved. Ends $3 student service fee against issues with state payments, collected for many years despite the fact that vast majority of state payments were made.

9. Closed Session

This ends tonight’s blog coverage. Please view the live stream which will pick up as soon as the trustees return from closed session.