Candidate Questionnaire: Dan Bailey

Running for COD board

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Joash Mencias

Board candidate Dan Bailey at a March 24 forum.

Quick Biography

My family and I lived in Wheaton for 28 years I grew up in Elmhurst. Born June 18, 1952. Education: associate’s degree in general studies, COD 1993, associate’s degree in nursing, COD 2008.  My first class at COD was in 1975 the last ended December 2014. I am a retired railroad engineer, currently a part-time Registered Nurse.

What do you want students to know about you?

I know from my own and my daughter’s experience that COD is a great resource — especially when it has affordable tuition.  That I am committed to all of the stakeholders at COD, including students, taxpayers and faculty/employees.  And that I want to keep COD’s educational quality high and to make its tuition affordable.

Why are you seeking office?  

My daughters and I have attended classes at COD again and again over the years and know it is a great resource. I’ve been hearing about problems at COD for far too long.  COD needs reform. It deserves to be well cared for. I want to be a voice for improving transparency and accountability, for stopping waste, and for keeping educational quality high and tuition affordable.  I am committed to be a watchdog for taxpayers at every board meeting and a bulldog for students and teachers.

What factors determine to you whether or not tuition should be increased?

Tuition should not be increased.  COD has a very large cash reserve.  And there are possible savings in administration and other expenses such as Waterleaf Restaurant. I will look for ways to reprioritize spending to reduce tuition and improve educational quality.

In regards to President Barack Obama’s proposal for free community college, what do you believe the threshold should be for a free education at COD?

Graduation from high school or a GED, and diligent work on studies.

What would your top three priorities be if elected?

First priority is cleaning up the mess and restoring trust in COD.  At my first board meeting following the election, I will propose a COD 60 Day investigative report to answer the key questions that have been raised and to make a clean slate as we usher in a new board and a new president.

This proposal will include among several other concerns, an independent legal investigation on the following four items:

o   Were Dr. Breuder’s secret contract extensions legal?

o   Does Dr. Breuder’s contract really run until 2019 if his extensions were illegally approved?

o   Did Dr. Breuder resign and therefore nullify the need for any severance?

o   Did Dr. Breuder do material damage – like the loss of $ 20M — that would constitute a breach of his contract?

My other priorities would be reestablishing good relations with faculty/employees, and transparency.

What is your opinion on the possible addition of a new Teaching and Learning Center? They should critically analyze any new building project to insure it is not just renovating but adding capacity for increased enrollment. The Naperville Center renovation, without public discussion, cut planned classroom space in half. We need to have separate projections of enrollment by program including best, worst and most likely scenarios to inform space considerations.  Too much conflicting enrollment data has been tossed around. The board members need to require staff to submit clear and factual information, and be critical and discerning about that information. That way they can make the best decisions based on facts and not just be led by the administration. The board must insist on rigorous, regular, and timely evaluations of enrollment projections and overall utilization of COD classroom/lab, and staff resources. The taxpayers, students and staff deserve no less.

In your opinion, does the college need more parking? As a recent student I know parking is an issue when I couldn’t find a parking place near Fawell Boulevard for my morning class. How would you go about creating more parking if you do believe it is an issue?  To begin I would encourage using alternatives like bus and bicycle.  We need to consider some new ways of approaching this problem before we commit to building an expensive parking structure that would make the situation worse during construction.  Borrowing an idea from traffic planners, who reserve HOV lanes for cars with more than one passenger, could we do something similar for COD’s preferred parking locations?  This could reduce the number of parked cars.  Also consider use of satellite parking with shuttle buses.

A recent satisfaction survey said students are unhappy with the current counseling options on campus. How would you improve it?

Improve education and service to students, including better support of academic advising for students who may not be prepared for rigorous academic study. The current wait-time for advising is too long, so we need more trained advisors.   There must also be efforts to insure student loans are understood and minimized to reduce student debt.

The full-time faculty has voted to express no confidence in President Robert Breuder. Breuder has also been granted a severance package. Do you support this decision? Why or why not?

Yes on the no confidence vote. No on the buyout. Why or why not?  With all the problems that have arisen because of Dr. Breuder’s style of management it is good for him to go.  With the questions about legality and advisability of his contract, its extensions and whether or not he voluntarily retired or could be fired for cause, I am not convinced a buyout is necessary.  In any event, a buyout was not deserved.

What qualities do you seek in a new president when President Breuder’s term is up?

We have to work to find a replacement whose goal will be the improving education at COD, care for the employees, and efficient use of taxpayers investment in this great local resource.  We need a strong leader need with a proven history of working with all the education stakeholders to bring them together to work to improve this great institution.  Someone with an academic as well as a management background.