President’s Report. Financial Matters. Glaser introduced the staff of the finance department, led by Lynn Sapyta, who defended their integrity and accuracy against irresponsible statements. First point was to address the “10 oddities” list handed out at the last meeting by OpenTheBooks.com. Showed that the supposed duplicate accounts (with 1’s or spaces added) for vendors did not exist. Also showed that SMT travel reimbursements were not double-dipping, since some travel is within the district and covered by a stipend meant to cover their travel from one COD campus to another. Other payments are for travel out of district and are made based on expense reports. Next was discussion of the imprest account. The board’s role is strategic, not to micro-manage finances. A large amount of September imprest payments is pass-thru of student financial aid. There are no hidden payments or schemes in place. Extensive system of internal controls is in place. Several members of the department spoke and explained various procedures. Glaser summed up that the accusations against the college’s financial procedures are reckless and unfounded. He offered to meet with any members of the press to put any concerns to rest. He repeated the highlights of the audit results presented last month and defended the challenges made to the auditor. He remarked on the cost of responding to many FOIA requests from organizations working to raise their own profiles at no benefit to the students or the college. “We are THE model government in Illinois. Perhaps the state of Illinois or the city of Chicago would be better targets.” Our financial operations have been upheld repeatedly. He continued by quoting comments from reviewers who evaluated our budget presentation for a recent award He introduced a representative who presented the Government Finance Office Association’s “Distinguished Budget Presentation Award” based on 28 very demanding criteria. Photo op and handshakings ensued. Breuder kissed Sapyta.
President Breuder then commented that there will be an additional accounting firm hired to review the imprest fund at a cost of over $100,000. He also praised the financial team and hopes that tonight will be the beginning of the end of the attacks.
Sec O’Donnell congratulated the team on the award as did Trustee Svoboda and Trustee Savage. They all expressed thanks for the work of the financial staff. Trustee McGuire said she was thrilled with what she heard tonight because she has had to defend the college in her recent communications.
Trustee Hamilton said that she would prefer to make her comments during the trustee discussion.
Chair Birt said it was a proud moment for her, as was last month’s audit report, and that she has always been proud of the college. She regretted that the news following the last meeting focused on other things.
Breuder then gave Bente 40 seconds for good news. He reported on the Noel-Levitz survey of student satisfaction. Four administrations of survey 2004/2007/2010/2014.
Highlights: 83% of students say COD was first or second choice. Affordability and reputation were top reasons. He reviewed results on “loyalty questions” such as whether you would enroll again. Results are consistently strong and on upward trend for the past three years.
Instructional Effectiveness was rated very highly including quality of instruction and knowledge of faculty. Registration Effectiveness was also very high.
A low satisfaction area was academic advising.
In a number of areas, our results are at all-time high, including Admissions and Financial Aid, Concern for Individual, Responsiveness to Diverse Populations, Student Centeredness, Academic Services.
Another low is caused by parking issues (folded into Safety and Security category).
Overall highest level of student satisfaction ever reported in this survey.
President Breuder stated that the one piece of information that trumps everything else is academic quality.