CHICAGO – The College of DuPage, Ill. board chairwoman Kathy Hamilton, who spearheaded reform efforts that also led to the ouster of the college president and the school's finance team, abruptly resigned.
Hamilton said in a letter released by the community college Dec. 14 that she resigned from the board for personal reasons.
"I have enjoyed working together with my fellow trustees to build upon the strengths of COD and address its future needs. I will miss the collaboration and energetic debate that marks the COD board as one that is so caring and committed to all of its stakeholders," Hamilton wrote. The resignation was effective immediately.
Hamilton first joined the board three years ago and, after the April elections when three candidates she supported won election, she was elevated to chairwoman. With a majority, Hamilton pushed through a series of fiscal and management reforms.
The board is charged with naming a new trustee but decisions could be hard to come by given the three-to-three split between the two factions following Hamilton's departure.
The college had previously come under local and federal scrutiny over controversial spending practices. The previous board agreed to a lucrative separation package with its embattled president Robert Breuder. After Hamilton won a majority, the board cancelled the deal and put Breuder on leave.
The college also recently fired its top fiscal officers Thomas Glaser, the vice president of administration and treasurer, and Lynn Sapyta, vice president of financial affairs and controller, accusing them of mismanagement and violations of board investment rules.
All three have filed federal lawsuits against the college. The complaint filed by the finance team accuses Hamilton of pushing to fire the two in retaliation for their opposition to her agenda in the last election by opposing candidates she endorsed and supporting those who were against her agenda.
A financial services firm has been managing finances at the triple-A rated Glen Ellyn-based school since Glaser and Sapyta were ousted.
The college's top ratings have remained intact during the controversy because the fiscal issues haven't impacted the overall health of its balance sheet and healthy reserves.
The college, formally known as Community College District 502, has $340 million of outstanding general obligation debt and most recently issued $84 million in 2013 to finance a wide range of capital improvements.