Sept 17, 2015 – Agenda #10

The agenda was re-ordered.

Item 10 calls for the board to declare that President’s Breuder was “void from the start” as Chair Hamilton translates from Latin.

Hamilton: very significant legal and institutional conclusion. Consistent with legal opinion by Attorney General Madigan. Makes Breuder an “at-will” employee. Will still have his rights which will be respected by COD. Legal principle is that a board cannot tie the hands of future boards; however, this is the pattern that was repeatedly set. The 3-year extension that was given three months into Breuder’s employment extended past the next two elections. Both Madigan and States Attorney Berlin agree that later contract extension rollovers were violations of the Open Meetings Act. The three additional rollover years were used to justify the severance package, but no vote was ever made public. Breuder’s contract is caught over the line not by politics or machinations, but by the top law enforcement officer in the state. The employee of the public body should not set his own departure date. We must show our commitment to the Open Meetings Act and keep faith with our promises.

Trustee discussion:

McGuire. Important matter to consider. Not convinced by specious arguments. Going to let the attorneys sort through the cases. Ludicrous to say that a board only has two years to make agreements. We enter into agreements all the time that extend over time – such as faculty contracts. This motion is a breach of contract and a desperate attempt to circumvent the law. The cost of the severance agreement will be nothing compared to the cost of the lawsuits, has heard this could cost $3-5million. Ridiculous.

Wozniak. Very concerned about potential cost of lawsuits. No one is mentioning the good things that Breuder did. Will vote against with Diane.

Mazzochi. Procedural is separate from substantive issues. This is not about job performance, but about procedural issues. The one person the board hires and its one direct report is the president. The people of the community have a statutory right to act through the elected board. Separate statutory authority governs contracts like the one for faculty. Illinois AG and States Atty have found OMA violations, and legislators have found this also. If there was an illegal act, we have a duty to remedy and ensure compliance with the law. Approving this resolution means that the contract is void as of the constitution of this board, and this board has the responsibility to make sure that the public

Napolitano. Emphasizes issue of not binding future boards.

Hamilton asks attorney to shed light on the legalities being mentioned. Clarify the discussion that has just happened.

Elliot: The upshot of tonight’s action would be to state that the contract of 2008 is now void as a matter of law. College is staking out a position that Breuder is and always has been an at-will employee. The severance agreement would be voided. Breuder would have only the rights of any at-will employee. Line of authority going back to 1892 says that outgoing board cannot saddle incoming board with contracts, especially in the case of a favored employee.

Roark: abstain

McGuire: No

Wozniak: No

Birt: No

all others yes. Motion passes.