DuPage starts process of firing community college president

By The Associated Press | Posted - Aug. 21, 2015 at 10:01 a.m.

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GLEN ELLYN, Ill. (AP) — Trustees of Illinois' largest community college have voted to begin the process of firing President Robert Breuder, who has been under scrutiny for a hefty severance package and spending at the college, but some are questioning whether ousting him is legal.

College of DuPage trustees voted 4-2 on Thursday evening to authorize the process after a monthslong internal review of his tenure. Breuder has been on administrative leave since April when a new majority took over the board. Law enforcement and state education officials are investigating the severance deal and other financial issues at the suburban Chicago college.

Board members say the process to fire him could take months.

"This is not a conclusion," board member Kathy Hamilton, a longtime critic of Breuder, said before the vote. "It is not a finding. It starts a process. The college states its case privately, and the president on leave, Breuder, has every opportunity to answer that case."

The findings of internal investigations into the matter weren't released publicly. Neither Breuder nor his attorney have returned messages seeking comment.

Trustee Dianne McGuire, who voted against the process, said she wasn't convinced the college had the legal basis to fire Breuder.

"The majority is taking this action solely for political reasons," McGuire said. "Chair Hamilton and her slate of candidates ran on a platform of firing Dr. Breuder. They are determined to meet their campaign pledge regardless of the facts and the legal realities."

According to Breuder's employment agreement signed in 2008, if he's fired for failing to perform his duties, he has to be given at least 45 days prior written notice and a chance to fix the problem.

Word of the severance package caused public outrage and has spurned legislation and public hearings.

Subpoenas have been served on Breuder's employment agreements, emails and college-issued credit cards. Two college finance officials also have been put on leave after an internal audit of investment practices.

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