Chair Birt calls the meeting to order. Roll call. Student Trustee Escamilla will not attend this month.
All other trustees present.
Move to approve the agenda. Passes.
Public comment for agenda related items.
Jack Moore. Agenda item #7.
Laura Reigle. Agenda items 8b.2 8c 1 and 2, 9b6
Construction change orders. The BoT needs to be aware of the financials. Don’t trust them. Hidden imprest accounts in payments to vendors. Why should the public have to file a FOIA to see vendor payments? We’ve asked 3 times and the College still hasn’t turned over the codes and numbers and so we can’t track the payments. This violates the law. Breuder and Glaser spent over 2 million dollars on waterfalls and sculpture…..with state money. 325,000 cost of one sculpture- the funds were paid from 4 different accounts, including one from a fund for parking. It took $727,000, a 67% cost overrun. South Plaza water feature after change order cost 473,000. 100,000 more than had been budgeted originally due to change orders. A million dollar waterfall…. Speaker cut off because her three minutes have run out.
Geoff Arata — works in vascular sonography. award to 2 vascular imaging equipment. wants to talk about a contract awarded for Volume calibrated — pressure volume recording device. Explains why this equipment is important — a dual calibrated system. Discusses the way the equipment works. He discusses why a particular feature is important for a student who is learning to be a vascular sonography technician A low bid product and it should be rejected. His three minutes are up, not cut off?
Jerry Vachaparambil. [full text provided by speaker] Good evening, my name is Jerry Vachaparambil. I’m glad to have another opportunity to address the board of trustees. Thank you for the generosity the college has shown when awarding my brother a presidential scholarship earlier this year. In order to award more of these scholarships, you are going to have to stop the waste and abusive payments flowing through your Imprest funds.
In July, I had the pleasure of reviewing Dr. Breuder’s compensation package with this board. It turns out that Thousands of dollars of Breuder’s “off-the-books” compensation flowed through these Imprest funds.
It’s still surprising to me how the College of Dupage president makes over $19k more than Dr. Easter, the president of the University of Illinois, so let me remind everyone here today about how he has managed to make this happen. Much of Breuder’s “off-the-books” compensation flows through the Imprest funds.
Along with his base salary of $292,000 he gets $72,000 in deferred comp; $24,900 into a retirement annuity; $8,400 as a car allowance; $8,400 of “personal development” allowance, over $27,000 at the Max McGraw private shooting club, paid satellite phones around the globe, a generous insurance package, and lucrative extra perks.
You would think, with how generous we have been to him, Breuder would be a bit more cautious with the purse strings. But instead, Breader has used the opacity of the Imprest funds to “game the system” for himself, the Senior Management Team and the Board of Trustees.
Dr. Breuder gave a Christmas gift of steaks to the Senior Management Team that costs more than my car: $2300. The payment flowed through Imprest accounting and was hidden from the public. It also violated gift ban law and board policy.
By covering up the Imprest payments, did you know that Dr. Breuder threw a Christmas party for the Senior Management Team and they blew through $3500 including $1600 in alcoholic beverages? That’s shameful.
Your students are sacrificing to be at this school. Shame on you for showering the president with filet and crème brulee and throwing liquor parties on our dime.
Please read an article I wrote during an Economics class here, now freely available online, about how you could have saved about a thousand dollars in related party expenses. My alma mater just ushered in it’s fifth college president in the past decade, so I am familiar with the leadership of university presidents whose tenures have been rife with scandal. It’s OK to recognize that mistakes have been made, now it’s time to move on to a new school of leadership.
Mark Kamichek / Will speak on Treasurers Report and Imprest Funds. How much longer do we have to keep asking for transparency about these funds. For example this week we learned that Bruder gave out steaks etc as Xmas gifts to the Senior Management TEam. This violates the Board’s gift policy. Because you allow Tom Glaser to use the imprest “slush” fund. They also have a house account at the Waterleaf. House Account #30 — did the Board not know about this account? This is not a Country Club! How much did they rack up on this House Account –beef brisket, salmon, toffee pudding, etc. — The SMT is stealing from our students. Wake up! Look at his Treasurers report! Shame on you.
Adam Andrzejewski [full text provided by speaker] My name is Adam Andrzejewski founder of OpenTheBooks.com and For the Good of Illinois.
I’m speaking to the Treasurer’s Report and Agenda item 9.b.6 the Imprest Audit. $100 million in Imprest payments have flowed to vendors since 2009. These payments have been hidden from all of us—the board and public. Now you’re considering a forensic audit of these payments. I’ve been a big advocate of the forensic audit- it’s an audit that is evidentiary, follows the money, and holds up in court. But, I don’t think that’s what you had in mind…
Here are suggestions on where to start the audit: Tens of millions of dollars were paid through Imprest funds to vendors who were not subject to a competitive bidding process—they include professional services contracts, subcontractors, construction change orders, and many other circumstances. Start the audit there.
Start the audit with the change orders on the over $2 million dollars in waterfalls and statues.
Start with the board members of the College of DuPage Foundation; I ran the foundation board
members and their businesses through the college checkbook and it shows over $190 million dollars was paid out to these companies over the past four years—plus an exclusive bank on campus. How do you even value an exclusive bank? Many of these companies weren’t subject to competitive bidding.
It’s Mortenson Company, Wight Construction, Power Construction, Bison Gear, Herricane Graphics, Robbins Schwartz, Scott Marquardt, Fuchs and Roselli, and Cadene Health. Start the audit with their payments.
Why was hundreds of thousands of dollars paid out to Broadcast Technologies when the contact name in your vendor management system is… Ed. Ed? No last name. A hundred thousand in Imprest payments and hundreds of thousands of dollars in total.
Question why your Senior Management team can get a Christmas gift of steaks from President Breuder that violates board policy and state gift limits- it flowed with Imprest hidden payments. Question yourselves—you, the board how can you throw a Christmas bash for yourself and blow nearly $1000 on alcohol right on this campus at the Waterleaf.
Question why your Senior Management Team blew through $3500 and $1600 of booze at their Christmas Party.
No, You don’t have a good track record to manage an audit. For the last two months at this meeting, your auditor and entire accounting department told all of us that “you’re clean,” “you win accounting awards,” that you are experts with” five MBA’s on staff in the ccounting department.”
Last month- you- This board told us that it’s too much work to open the books. Only Kathy Hamilton has pushed for reform.
Here’s why reform is so important: COD has $23 million of student loans outstanding and $9 million of it is past due. Your spending and high tuition costs are creating real pain for working class students.
So, hear me on this: We have no trust in you to oversee another audit.
Paul LaForte — resident and taxpayer. 3rd time appearing before this Board asking for information. Suggests reserving 50% of seats in the room for the public. And 10 minutes at the beginning of each meeting to address questions the public wants to know about.
550 million in capital spent in several years while a small increase in enrollment. This money may have satisfied Brueder’s taste but has it been a really good use of money? Should COd just spend the money it has in reserve? Suggests: A basic capital project effectiveness review. Also document enrollment. Update Facilities Master Plan. A restaurant/hotel effectiveness project that is public. Document any students employed by these operations. I would like some other questions added. How does the public get an item on your agenda for discussion? Why did you remove Trustee Hamilton from the audit committee is she is the only CPA?
Rich Panico — from the Center for Business Ethics (?) at DePaul. He came because of what he has been reading about COD. Someday what’s going on at COD is going to be a case study in mismanagement. For starters, the smirks on the face of the Senior Management Team when the public is making comments is appalling. Do you want to preserve you reputation as leaders you would change your practices immediately. I implore you for your own reputation, do what is right, don’t wait for a court order to do so.
Edward Francoviak — my 4th time here to talk. Like the previous speakers I want to talk about Board Policy 1065 — audit. Why do we have to FOIA the imprest payments and then come back and tell the public what we find. Discusses the policy of approving items only over 15,000. You could look at items under that if you wanted. Why wouldn’t Trustees want to have the opportunity to look at about 1/3 of the budget being spent monthly? What kind of report can we expect from you? Who will oversee it? Will it be released conveniently after the Trustee elections in April.
John Kraft — Speaking about Consent Agenda. You guys don’t look at the payments because you are scared of what you are going to find. First, I understand that BoT members have been compensated with meals and drinks in the past. Reads from the policy that says that BoT members will serve without compensation. — you can’t go to the Waterleaf and get a fricking meal, get drinks, get gifts at Xmas parties that are paid for by the public! It’s not allowed. Reads Illinois policy –public funds will be used only for public purposes. You can’t do it! It’s not legal. I urge you to look at all receipts you get. He reports that on August 21st he ate at the Waterleaf but didn’t drink wine like Brueder did — Brueder had wine that the public paid for while the Board was in Executive Session.
Kirk Allen –6 President’s Report. Is the Board going to ask the President why COD is paying for his hotel stays and meals at the restaurant? And what about the violation of the gift policy which he clearly has violated? Did receipts from hotel stays count as public purpose. Your own policies show his actions are wrongdoing. Agenda 9A — New Business. In light of the recent national coverage of COd don’t you think there should be some explanation? Do expenditures have a public purpose? Dixon IL had “clean audits” for 20 years but the woman turned out to be a thief. forensic audit. Policy: Closed Session — I suggest you use Closed session to discuss the president’s termination for violation of your own policies. You serve the public not Dr. Robert Brueder. And what good does it do to have a policy where we the public can ask questions but you people never answer them?
Roger Kempa — in the Treasurers Report there is no rate of return for a large amount of money for the investments for that month. Why don’t you have the rate of return for over a quarter billion dollars of investments? Operating Cash to pay annual operating expenses. — That lists over 220 million dollars, without restrictions, but there is another amount that is restricted and there over 91 million dollars is restricted — but how? 37.8 million is on reserve — but even not considering 90 million dollars you do not even need. There is no way in hell that next tax levee you are considering in December — there is no reason to increase it, but rather decrease it. You have over 90 million that you don’t need. It needs to go back to the public eventually.
Public comments section for agenda-related items is now closed.
Trustee McGuire instead of the President’s Report. She is very upset. She talks about German philosopher Martin Niemuller and his famous quote….today they came for the socialists…then they came for the Jews….etc.
I have spent all day preparing these comments. Begins by talking about My statement is directed at the extremist right-wing ideologues who are assaulting this stellar organization. The attack on Chair Birt was the tipping point for me. Then the comment Trustee Hamilton made about Chair Birt — then the For the Good of Illinois. Look at those imprest funds — there is nothing that says legally they have to be looked at. If the Board had wanted to see those receipts we could have at any point.
She goes on to defend the Waterleaf and the Hotel. They just need time to get going financially. It’s picking up. They offer the students a world class facility to train in. We only meet once a month and it helps us to have a meal together.
She continues to express her anger at the right-wing people who are bringing up the same topic over and over. The imprest fund, the Waterleaf and the hotel. She describes the meal she had for members of the Chinese community
Let’s talk about the President. He has gotten a lot of criticism. He has made mistakes, But he has made many good changes here. It is a much more welcoming place than it used to be.
She says there is no shame here. She continues to defend the actions made at the college and says Bruder is the ambassador of the College to the community and he has done great things.
Let’s talk about the 20 million dollars (the money that Gov. Quinn took back). We lobbied for that money for years. The hope for that money was communicated to us last spring. The President’s e-mail about how to move that project forward was “conveniently” FOIA’ed.
She defends the College’s attempts to get those funds. The Teaching and Learning CEnter idea had been on the books for years as part of our wish list. We had worthy uses for that money.
She calls the recent charges a “vendetta.” She recalls listening to the attacks on the College when she was out in South Dakota at a family event. She says the legal and staff expenses to process over 50 FOIA requests — over 100,000 dollars. She counts the 20 million dollars lost and the legal fees to provide FOIA information. IT is costing the College too much money.
She begins to read stats that praise COD –25% of the high school districts select COD for post-secondary ed/ Talks about reasonable a degree here. The new center in Naperville that is coming up. Or attendance is going up. We have reduced energy cots, increased spaces, LEED certified everywhere. COD has enjoyed a 10.3 increase in headcount. Unlike the overall average decree everywhere else at CC’s across Illinois of 11%. She talks about Presidential Scholars.
She goes on to name the awards that COD has garnered. Talks about how wonderful the Foundation Board is.
Then lauds the faculty. 30% have PhDs . Hands-on teaching.
Notes that we serve students of all ages.
We are an awful lot of things to an awful lot of people.
This wonderful place is under attack from within and without the community. Stop it. COD is a true treasure. This college takes a small portion of your tax dollars and gives back so much.
We create the middle class. All countries need a middle class or else there is no stability and countless revolutions. I have never heard a criticsm of this college from a student who has been here.
We need to push back from these unwarranted attacks on the College and the personal attack on our Chair, Erin Birt.
She mentions the upcoming elections in April