Saturday, May 31, 2008

COD secrecy questioned

Daily Herald
May 31, 2008

Why is it nearly every time a top public official gets ousted from their job the folks who pay the salary are the last to find out why? Case in point: This week's abrupt "mutually agreed upon" decision by the College of DuPage to move COD President Sunil Chand out of the college presidency and into a new role as "president emeritus" -- while also paying for an interim president on top of that. COD Board Chairman Micheal McKinnon said "all actions are done with the best interest of the taxpayers in mind." We suspect taxpayers wouldn't mind knowing exactly why Chand was removed from his job as president -- which remains a secret -- and why they now should have to pay for both a "president emeritus" and an interim president.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Trustees under fire at College of DuPage

By Catherine Edman Daily Herald Staff
Published: 5/30/2008 12:11 AM

The pressure on College of DuPage trustees continued Thursday after they officially welcomed Interim President Harold McAninch back to the fold. A former board trustee and the president of the faculty union both demanded answers as to why former President Sunil Chand was removed from his job Tuesday morning. Chand, who'd led the school for five years, was reassigned to the status of president emeritus. He'll now focus on fundraising.

"The aftershocks continue to ripple through the halls and offices," said Glenn Hansen, president of the COD Faculty Association. "There is a wide gamut of emotions.

"A sentiment often expressed in comments is, 'If this can happen so quickly to a president who is highly respected at local, state, national and international levels, who is next?'" Hansen asked.
Joseph Morrisey, a former trustee, said he's known three presidents at the school, and "all have been outstanding administrators with clear visions for COD."

"Two seem to have been summarily dismissed during the terms of present board members," Morrisey said. "What does this say about the board? Does this board accept its role as one of oversight and governance or is it attempting to be administrators?" Morrisey continued.

Foreign language professor Gino Impellizzeri, who said he was speaking more as a concerned citizen, expressed outrage at the suddenness of Tuesday morning's vote. "I am shocked at this in-the-dead-of-night little event," he said.

Chairman Micheal McKinnon would not discuss any specifics regarding Chand after the meeting, saying it is a protected "personnel matter."

"Keep in mind all actions are done with the best interest of the taxpayers in mind," he said. "This was a very difficult decision." McKinnon did say the "mutually agreed upon" discussion to transfer Chand to president emeritus "began last week."

"The college will continue," he said. "Right now, we have two presidents."

McAninch will determine Chand's duties. He said Chand will be working with the foundation board on an endowment campaign to raise $10 million for health-related fields.

There's no timeframe yet to conduct a search for a new president at the school. But McAninch stressed his intention to serve for a "short" duration. And by short, he said he intends to spend the winter in Arizona as always.

McAninch served as president at College of DuPage from 1979 to 1994 and worked on several occasions after retiring as an interim president elsewhere.

The board agreed to pay him a salary of $107,680, the amount he is allowed to earn during a calendar year as a retiree with the State University Retirement System. McAninch also will get a monthly housing allowance of $416, which is prorated from $5,000 annually. Chand received a yearly housing allowance of $10,000. The board also will give McAninch a $600 monthly car allowance.

COD will spend at least $400,000 for presidents

By Catherine Edman Daily Herald Staff
Published: 5/30/2008 1:51 PM Updated: 5/30/2008 9:43 PM

College of DuPage's presidency will cost taxpayers at least $400,000 over the next year.
And that's not including whatever trustees decide to spend searching for -- and hiring -- a third person to fill the job.

When the board voted to cancel Sunil Chand's existing contract Tuesday and create a new one for his "mutually agreed upon" role as president emeritus, they committed to spend a minimum of $273,482 on salary and benefits. It will rise once his raises are calculated next month. On Thursday, trustees agreed to spend another $113,776 by hiring former president Harold McAninch on an interim basis.

That's assuming McAninch works only for the next six months, which is his stated preference.
The total for those two, then, is $387,258. And it doesn't take into consideration the fact the board will create a third contract with a new president once the search concludes, possibly around the start of 2009.

Board Chairman Micheal McKinnon, though, said in a written statement that trustees will not rush the process. "All of us on the Board have experienced this week, these decisions are very difficult. Having the best team in place is critical to a college's success, and the Board bears this responsibility," McKinnon said in the statement. "We must remain focused and have thick skins to make these calls."

McAninch said he's already spoken to Chand about working with the foundation board this next year on a $10 million endowment campaign for health-related fields.

According to the agreement with Chand released by the college, some aspects of his prior contract will remain the same through July 1, 2009. They include:
• $7,200 car allowance.
• $10,000 housing allowance.
• $7,800 annuity.
• State University Retirement System contribution, or 8 percent of salary; and SURS health insurance contribution, or 0.5 percent of salary. A minimum of $20,806.
• Six paid days off for consulting, paid vacation, and health and life insurance.

New elements of the contract include:

• Annual salary of at least $197,676, which was his salary in 2006-2007. His raises through 2009 will match those given vice presidents. Trustees will approve retroactive 2007 administrator raises in June setting base salaries.
• Chand will remain president emeritus but go on sabbatical in 2009, from July 1 to Dec. 31, and not accept assignments from the college. He will not receive a salary during those six months, but he will get up to $10,000 in required SURS contributions, if needed.
• Pay outplacement costs up to $20,000 incurred between May 27, 2008, and Dec 31, 2009.

Meanwhile, COD trustees agreed to give McAninch a salary of $107,680 for a term between three months and two years. He also will receive a $2,496 housing allowance ($416 monthly payments calculated for six-month minimum) and a $3,600 car allowance ($600 monthly payments calculated for six-month minimum).

So far, the college is spending less than it did when Chand started and was in the reverse situation with former President Michael Murphy. That should change, though, after they hire an incoming president.

Trustees accepted Murphy's early retirement in 2002, effective in 2003 -- a year before his contract expired -- and paid him $297,098 for work as a fundraising and government consultant in 2004. His salary then was larger than Chand's is next year because as a retiring administrator, Murphy automatically received benefits aimed at compensating retiring employees, Murphy said this week.

Taxpayers spent at least $521,280 on the two men's salaries and benefits for the year they both worked at the college. As Chand was allowed to choose Murphy's assignments that final year, McAninch now will assign his.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

COD board e-mail

As appeared in the Daily Herald

The following is the text of an e-mail that College of DuPage trustees sent to faculty and staff after President Sunil Chand was removed from office:

The Board of Trustees today voted to approve a proposal by which the College's President, Dr. Sunil Chand, will, by mutual agreement, transition to the position of President Emeritus effective immediately.

My colleagues and I on the Board intend to confer to identify an interim leader for the College. We expect to make that decision later this week. Until that time, the College will operate under set procedures governing the temporary absence of the President. Additional information on this change and our future course will be made available to the general public on Wednesday, May 28.

I am confident that, together, we will make a seamless transition and continue moving forward while the Board seeks to identify a new President for the College. In the meantime, I want to remind everyone that it is our policy not to disclose details about personnel matters and that this situation will be no exception.

We are grateful for Dr. Chand's service to the College. He was an integral part of the College's change from a quarter to a semester academic calendar and our recent accreditation process, and he has provided guidance for the ongoing Facilities Master Plan to expand the College's campus. This decision was not an easy one, but we are pleased that Dr. Chand will remain part of the team at C.O.D. as we move into the future.

I am also appreciative of the thoughtful attention that the Board has given this matter, and we will strive to keep you apprised of new developments in the process of identifying a new permanent leader to help guide us into the future.

Micheal E. McKinnon
Chairman, Board of Trustees

Faculty Response

As appearing in the Daily Herald

Glenn Hansen, president of the College of DuPage Faculty Association, released the following statement Wednesday in response to the board's actions this week:

The Faculty of COD are very concerned about the latest action of the Board of Trustees and the impact on the Institution and its reputation. This action will affect the employees and the students. We find the timing of this decision and the way it was carried out to be very disturbing and unsettling. As with several other significant events in the last year and a half, it came as a surprise and without detail. The abrupt transitioning of President Chand out of office will give the new public relations firm an opportunity to demonstrate their skills and creating a positive message for the College.

The announcement of Tuesday's meeting during a holiday weekend and then holding that public Board meeting at 9 a.m. on the first day of classes for the summer semester, fits a disturbing pattern. Too much has transpired out of the public view to be ignored. As before, we call for the Board of Trustees to be open in how they conduct their business; the business of the College.
In January 2007 a Trustee, Jane Herron, abruptly resigned. Former Trustee Herron raised concerns about Board operations in her letter of resignation and in newspaper interviews after leaving the Board that were not responded to. The replacement process was not open to public scrutiny and the replacement Trustee was selected in closed session and then presented to the public when he was administered the oath of office.

Later in the same year, the Facility Director, Gavin Tun, resigned making many statements again about decision making and the freedom to express differing opinions.

In January 2008 Trustee, Mary Mack, resigned with a long letter of accusations against the Board leadership. After much debate a process to replace her was established that allowed for questions of the finalists to be submitted by the public and asked by the Board. Without feedback from the public the new Trustee was selected in closed session.

The Board has now removed President Chand. Interim President Harold McAninch assumed responsibilities today. Obviously decisions were made prior to yesterday. This process to remove the President appears to have been progressing in closed session for a while.

There was a public cooling of the relationship between the Board and President Chand since last December and the decision to proceed with the Berg Instructional Center. President Chand was adamant about the importance of renovation of our main instructional building and opposed building a new structure at the expense of any renovation of the BIC. Recently, at Board meetings, President Chand repeatedly called for the level of employee insurance benefits be maintained at their current level. In our newly accepted contract, we agreed to increase our contribution to maintain that level of service. The Board is in the process of finding a new insurance broker and perhaps new plan.

We can only speculate as to the nature of the breakdown of the relationship between the President and the Board, personnel matters are not a matter of public record. But, we do know that this comes at a time with many issues in flux. We are involved in a major building program and we are in the midst of planning our new mission and vision statements. President Chand was providing the leadership in these and many other areas. He was bringing all constituency groups to the table to work together in planning the future for COD and our students.

This abrupt action is disturbing. We are left asking why and for what purpose such action is taken in such a way. As we must move forward, we call for the search for a new president to be open and inclusive.

It is time for the public to ask questions about this pattern of behavior and receive answers. The residents of District 502 are the ones the Board must answer to.

Former COD chief steps back in for the interim: McAninch returns to president's office

By Catherine Edman Daily Herald Staff
Published: 5/29/2008 12:04 AM Updated: 5/29/2008 12:14 AM

It didn't take long for Harold McAninch to slide back into the saddle. The former longtime College of DuPage president was back in his old office Wednesday -- just 24 hours after the board of trustees approved an abrupt "mutually agreed upon" separation with President Sunil Chand. rustees today are set to hire McAninch as interim president. Chand stepped into the role of president emeritus with Tuesday morning's 6-1 board vote. Trustee Kathy Wessel said she opposed Chand's removal as president because COD needs "his vision and leadership."

His contract expires in 2009, and COD is obligated to honor all terms and financial commitments to him. They'll also be paying McAninch.

In a written statement issued one day after the board's action, board Chairman Micheal McKinnon said "trustees are grateful for Dr. Chand's service to COD."

"This decision was not an easy one, but we are pleased that Dr. Chand will remain part of the team at COD as we move into the future," McKinnon said in his statement.

The president of the COD Faculty Association, however, in his own written statement, called Chand's departure, and the way it came about, "disturbing."

"We are left asking why and for what purpose such action is taken in such a way," Glenn A. Hansen said of the trustees' vote.

Neither McKinnon, Chand or McAninch returned phone calls Wednesday seeking comment.
Hansen said the board's actions continue a pattern of behavior first highlighted with the departure of Trustee Jane Herron.

"Herron raised concerns about Board operations in her letter of resignation and in newspaper interviews after leaving the Board that were not responded to. The replacement process was not open to public scrutiny and the replacement Trustee was selected in closed session and then presented to the public when he was administered the oath of office," Hansen said in his statement.

"Later in the same year, the Facility Director, Gavin Tun, resigned making many statements again about decision making and the freedom to express differing opinions.

"In January 2008 Trustee, Mary Mack, resigned with a long letter of accusations against the Board leadership. After much debate a process to replace her was established that allowed for questions of the finalists to be submitted by the public and asked by the Board. Without feedback from the public the new Trustee was selected in closed session," Hansen continued.
Chand supported the faculty's interests, Hansen said, and fought for the renovation of the largest building where they teach, the Berg Instructional Center.

There was little indication that Chand's five-year tenure at the helm of the Glen Ellyn school was coming to an end. However, trustees recently started publicly criticizing him at meetings.
McKinnon and Trustee Dave Carlin went behind Chand's back and negotiated a $90,000, six-month public relations contract with the Chicago firm Res Publica. The pair also failed to discuss the move with other administrators, including the school's existing news bureau, before presenting it to the board for a vote.

McKinnon and Carlin said they'd asked Chand to hire a firm and he'd failed to do so. Chand politely explained he kept trustees informed of reasons for the delay, which was tied to pending infrastructure improvements.

On Thursday night, Chand's annual job review was conducted behind closed doors. Saturday afternoon trustees sent notice of an early Tuesday morning meeting in regarding "administrator contracts" that gave no indication of the magnitude of the topic.

College of DuPage president's contract terminated: Trustees say removing Chand early was a mutual decision

Naperville Sun May 29, 2008
By Paige Winfield

College of DuPage trustees have abruptly terminated Sunil Chand's tenure as president, although his contract doesn't expire for another year. Harold D. McAninch, a Naperville resident and president of the college from 1979 to 1994, will take over as interim president, said Bill Troller, the school's public information director. Chand, 62, was named president emeritus and will be paid the full contract amount, Troller said.

Chand's departure came about as a "mutual agreement" he made with the college, board Chairman Mike McKinnon said in a written statement. David Carlin, another trustee on the eight-member board, also said the removal was a joint decision between Chand and the board.
"Over the last couple months we've had discussions on different things," Carlin said. "It kind of played out as we were discussing things."

The announcement came five days after a May 22 meeting during which the board conducted Chand's annual performance review.

Carlin and McKinnon reportedly had a rocky relationship with Chand in recent months as they negotiated a $90,000 contract with Res Publica Group - a Chicago-based public relations firm.
While Carlin declined to give specifics about any factors contributing to the decision, former board member Jan Herron said the announcement doesn't surprise her, based on the way the board leadership operated during her own tenure.

"I think (McKinnon) knew he wanted a different president," she said. "I think this has been on his mind for a long time. I think at this point he's lined up his ducks, and they've quacked."

Herron resigned from the board in January 2007, saying she was disgusted with the manipulation used by McKinnon and other trustees who tried to "micromanage" the college. She said that during her time on the board she saw Chand trying diligently to work with trustees, but was constantly kept "out of the loop" on all sorts of decisions.

"We'd go into meetings and there would be little discussion and no need to have any discourse and boom, the vote was done," she said.

Kathy Wessel was the only trustee to vote against Chand's departure at a meeting Tuesday, saying she thinks the decision is the "wrong thing" for the college. "I think Dr. Chand is a
fantastic leader and president and should still be president of COD," Wessel said.

Chand left his job as an executive vice president at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland to take over from previous COD president Michael Murphy in 2003. He also is the former dean of Triton College in River Grove.

Troller said McAninch will serve as a competent and skilled president until the board hires a new president - for which trustees have not set a deadline.

"(McAninch's) extremely familiar with COD," Troller said. "He's incredibly well-versed on community colleges and I think he's probably going to be integral on the board's discussion of future presidents down the road. I think the goal here is to keep the college moving forward."

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

College of DuPage President Chand ousted: No reason given for sudden ouster

By Catherine Edman Daily Herald Staff
Published: 5/27/2008 5:42 PM Updated: 5/27/2008 11:13 PM

In an abrupt move, College of DuPage trustees Tuesday removed President Sunil Chand from his job. No reasons were given for the immediate separation, though the college is obligated to pay for the remainder of his contract, with a base pay of about $200,000, which expires next year. Later in the day, a former COD president, Harold McAninch, accepted the board's offer to fill the role in an interim position.

Chand's departure is reminiscent of the scenario present before his arrival. Trustees in April 2002 accepted the resignation of former president Michael Murphy in 2003 -- though his contract expired in 2004. That final year, after he stepped down, his salary and benefits totaled $297,098. He worked as a consultant and Chand was installed as president. Now Chand will serve in the reverse role to the incoming leader.

The relationship between the board and Chand was rocky in recent months, with two trustees going behind the backs of the president and administration to hire an outside public relations firm for $15,000 a month.

Trustee Kathy Wessel was the lone dissenter in the Tuesday vote to have Chand "transition to president emeritus immediately." She said Chand brought a rational approach during recent contract negotiations and that they were without "anger and rancor present in years past." He also formed a partnership with Benedictine University to share nursing and art programs. "Sunil Chand being the president of the college is the best scenario," she said. "I think his vision and leadership are what the college needs. I hate to see him leave."

The board met Thursday in closed session to conduct Chand's annual performance review. Late Saturday, the board e-mailed notice of another closed session meeting early Tuesday that dealt with the vague topic of administrative contracts. Members are scheduled to meet again for a special meeting Thursday to officially appoint McAninch, after whom the college's art center is named, as interim president.

Glenn A. Hansen, the COD Faculty Association president, said the staff didn't learn of Chand's departure until Tuesday -- the first day of the summer semester. "We're quite surprised and shocked by the timing of the announcement and lack of information that was shared," he said. "We don't know any of the details or the reason behind it." He added: "Dr. Chand has been supportive of the faculty and renovation of the Berg Institutional Center."

Board Chairman Micheal McKinnon did not return a phone call Tuesday seeking comment.
Chand, 62, took over for Murphy July 1, 2003. Chand left his job as an executive vice president for academic and student affairs at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, Ohio. He also is the former dean of Triton College in River Grove.

The board spent five months in late 2002 and early 2003 searching for a replacement for Murphy. Former Trustee Jane Herron, who chaired the search committee, said at the time that Chand stood out because of his intelligence, personality, experience and his global view of community colleges.

But Chand's tenure was not without controversy -- at least recently. Public concerns arose earlier this year after the Daily Herald reported on a continuing education program its dean, Michael Perez, wanted to start in Costa Rica, where he was buying a retirement home. He spent about $6,000 on two trips there exploring the idea, and staying at his future residence. Chand as well as McKinnon both initially said they were in favor of exploring the out-of-country plan. The officials later said they would re-examine the plan, which has not been put back on the agenda.
And, earlier this month, McKinnon and Trustee Dave Carlin negotiated a $90,000, six-month public relations contract for the school, then presented it for a vote without asking the school's existing news bureau. Chand was not involved in the deal with Res Publica Group in Chicago because the trustees said they'd asked him -- unsuccessfully -- for action earlier.

Chand, though, said he told board members the process was delayed because a new infrastructure system was not in place to support the related changes, such as a Web site redesign.

A message left at Chand's home in Wheaton was not immediately returned. Bill Troller, the college's director of public information, said a news release will be issued today.