Tuesday, April 30, 2013

[PDI] WINDPOWER 2013 - Chicago


This weekend, May 5-8, McCormick Place.

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Monday, April 01, 2013

[PDI] A reason to vote on Apr. 9- College of DuPage (District 502)

DAWN is a non-partisan organization and does not take a stand on a particular party or endorse a candidate.

However, the COD ( Dist 502 ) is a non-partisan race and affects virtually everyone on our mailing list. The issues addressed in the below forwarded letter are valid and deserve your consideration when you vote on April 9th. The writer, Peter Cooper, has encouraged that this letter be shared widely.

From: Peter Cooper<mailto:petercooper502@gmail.com>
To: pcoopervb@glenellyninfo.org<mailto:pcoopervb@glenellyninfo.org>
Sent: Wednesday, March 27, 2013 1:39 PM
Subject: College of DuPage (District 502) Vote to Replace Dave Carlin and Joe Wozniak

Dear Friends:<>

We have an upcoming election on April 9th. Among the offices up for selection are Trustees for Community College District 502 (College of DuPage). I urge you to give special consideration to this election.

Over the past four years, I have had the opportunity to observe and follow the leadership of the College of DuPage. The behavior of the senior administration and the Board of Trustees has left me outraged and convinced that they are not acting in the best interests of the College or the community, that they are poor stewards of the College and that they are not answerable to their constituents or associates. As a result of their inadequate leadership (or lack thereof), our tax rates for Community College District 502 have increased precipitously at the same time as the costs for credit hour has risen for students. Yet, the quality of our students' experience has suffered, as the increased tax dollars and costs have gone for projects having comparatively little to do with student education and targeted instead to personal aggrandizement, fawning publicity and personal retribution. Unless we change the leadership at College of DuPage, we are destined to be saddled with an expensive physical trophy that drifts further and further from its core mission of public education.

Many people have blamed the leadership of the College on President Robert Breuder. It is true that Mr. Breuder is mean-spirited and condescending to the College's students, faculty and staff, and is demeaning to and contemptuous of both the public and the College Trustees – the public's representatives. But the College Board of Trustees appoints the College President and sets all policy for the College. The Policy Manual for the Board of Trustees states:

"The Board of Trustees of Community College District No. 502 has the legal authority and responsibility to govern the College in accordance with the Illinois Public Community College Act. The Board will appoint a president to organize and manage the institution within Board policy. * *

As the governing body of Community College District No. 502, the Board of Trustees is responsible for the development and adoption of Board policies and for making decisions related thereto. The Board's authority in this area is final, subject to applicable statutory and regulatory limitations. (The President is responsible for developing appropriate administrative procedures to effectuate Board policies.)"

It is the responsibility of the College Board to set policies and to hold the President accountable. If Mr. Breuder has charted a course that is different from the Board's policy, it is the Board's responsibility to steer him true and they have failed. If, instead, the current policies reflect the Board's direction, they are bad policies that harm the school and the community. In either event, the Board of Trustees must be held accountable, and by that, I mean they must be replaced.

I want to share a few, specific concerns about the College leadership and the operation of COD.

First, there is a real question of whether the Board of Trustees fully operates within letter and spirits of the Illinois Open Meetings Act. The Illinois Open Meetings Act (OMA) is designed to ensure that the public has access to information about government and its decision-making process. OMA requires that public bodies, such as the COD Board of Trustees, give the public adequate notice of its meetings and agendas, and conduct its deliberations in open session. Likewise, the law limits a public body's ability to conduct public business in secret closed sessions. Anyone who has ever attended a COD Board meeting or watched a video of a meeting knows that there is comparatively little public discussion at Board meetings, and that many actions are taken through a non-discussed or debated consent agenda. Likewise, the Board routinely adjourns to closed executive session with little or nor explanation. Public participation at Board meetings is discouraged and then strictly curtailed and limited. The COD Board of Trustees is the least transparent and accountable public board in Illinois with which I am familiar.

Second, the decisions and actions of the College Board and Administration over the past several years call into question the soundness of their judgment and policies. For example, since the College's encampment at Lambert Farms in Glen Ellyn, it received the services of the Glen Ellyn Volunteer Fire Company, a highly-rated fire department. This included ambulance services and fire protection, for which the College paid no fee. Recently, in an effort to separate itself from Glen Ellyn, the College contracted with the Lisle Woodridge Fire Protection District for fire and ambulance coverage at a substantial cost. Lisle Woodridge is a wonderful department, but its nearest firehouse is 4 miles (9 minutes) away; the Glen Ellyn Volunteer Fire Company is 1 ½ miles (4 minutes) away. The College regularly needs fire and rescue services for its community, but has adopted a policy at an increased cost that puts that emergency care farther away. The only explanation or justification was the desire to separate from Glen Ellyn.

Waterleaf restaurant is another example of the College's misuse of resources for personal aggrandizement as opposed educational benefit. According to the December 23, 2012 Daily Herald, in 2012, Waterleaf suffered an operating loss of $576,000. Waterleaf is not really a part of the College's culinary and hospitality program; students serve meals only twice a week and the restaurant has a professional kitchen. Rather than being integral to the curriculum, the restaurant is a "trophy" for the College's administration – a place that the President and his staff can entertain guests in style. In other words, COD's restaurant – which was built at a substantial expense to the community – does not play a significant role in the educational mission of the College at the same time as it competes directly with our local restaurants. Likewise, Waterleaf offers one of the County's most extensive wine lists, featuring a 2008 Peter Michael Winery, "Les Pavots," for $320. I understand that COD has rebuffed efforts to learn who was involved with selecting the restaurant's wine list. This is particularly relevant in that Mr. Breuder has been involved in controversies with his previous two employers, Harper College and Williamsport Area Community College, over expenses incurred in developing wine programs there.

The College's spending priorities on plant and people routinely are out of balance. While the College has eliminated the positions of a number of staff and faculty who dissented from its policies, it has ballooned its "public information" staff. COD has more public relations employees than virtually any other college or university in the State of Illinois, with the exception of the University of Illinois. Yet, the College remains in a public and protracted fight with its staff and faculty, and has eliminated core courses of study, seemingly on the whim of the administration. COD has uprooted and replaced its mature and appropriate landscaping with poorly planned and unsustainable plantings. These trees, shrubberies and bushes, which were planted at considerable expense, will not survive for more than the short term and are susceptible to disease and destruction. The College Board has permitted the expenditure of a substantial amount of money for a short term, temporary "beautification" project.

I have left out of this analysis the petty dispute that the College ginned up with the Village of Glen Ellyn. Suffice it to say that the College made safety-related changes to the design and construction of some of buildings that may not have occurred without the intervention of the Village's staff and agents.

In summary, the College of DuPage is not being run in a manner that fully benefits and serves its taxpayers, students, faculty or staff, and the College Board of Trustees must be replaced. While I will refrain from endorsing any particular candidate, please note that David Carlin and Joseph C. Wozniak are incumbent members of the COD Board. Mr. Carlin, who has run a political consulting business and was Congressman Joe Walsh's District Director, has been the President of the Board of Trustees for the past four years. The actions that the College has taken – the increased taxes, the increased costs, the administrative excesses and antidemocratic activities -- all reflect Mr. Carlin's leadership and Mr. Wozniak's passive acquiescence.

In two weeks, we will have the opportunity to right COD's course and COD Board of Trustees in more competent hands. We will have the opportunity to put in place a Board that respects the community and our values, and that will focus on the education of our children and neighbors and not on power and transitory trophies. Over the past four years, Mr. Carlin and Mr. Wozniak have proven that they are not good stewards of the College or fiduciaries for the community. On April 9th, I hope that you will join me in selecting their replacements.

Thank you for considering this message. If you are inclined, I hope that you will consider forwarding it to your friends an neighbors, who may not have had the chance to study this election.

Peter Cooper

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