GLEN ELLYN – The College of DuPage Board of Trustees will soon be looking at a Clean Slate.
The trio of candidates that campaigned under the name the Clean Slate and received significant support from Vice Chairwoman Kathy Hamilton swept the April 7 election.
Deanne Mazzochi came in the lead with 42,903 votes, according to preliminary reports from the DuPage County Election Commission and the Will and Cook county clerks. Frank Napolitano followed with 34,011 votes. Charles Bernstein was third with 28,352 votes. All candidates will commit to 6-year terms on the board.
The slate won all three seats in DuPage and Will counties and two out of three in Cook County, with incumbents Nancy Svoboda and Kim Savage pushing Bernstein into fifth place.
Following the trio was former state representative Sandra Pihos with 26,966 votes.
Other candidates included: Dan Bailey, Claire Ball, David Carlin, Matt Gambs, Roger Kempa and Joseph Wozniak.
After a long and tumultuous campaign that saw candidates field questions on topics including lack of transparency with the current board, public discontentment with college President Robert Breuder and accusations of financial wrongdoing at the school, the incoming trustees believe the taxpayers are more than ready for change.
“Tonight, they gave us a clear mandate to clean up the College of DuPage," said Mazzochi, Napolitano and Bernstein in a statement distributed election night. "To put an end to the attitude that has persisted there that taxpayers don't count, and insiders rule. To finally stop the waste, fraud and abuse. To end business as usual and to truly put taxpayers, students and faculty ahead of the insider interests that have dominated this board and this school for too long.”
Napolitano said the race was all about the need for reform and emphasized that the election of the Clean Slate shows taxpayers are ready for something new.
“The voters have spoken," he said. "They had a choice, although they had 12 candidates to choose from, they really only had two choices: They had a choice for reform or they had a choice for the status quo. They chose reform with all three positions they elected tonight.”
Napolitano said one of the first tasks the slate will address is the need for a requested audit of state money spent at the school, which the college's board has yet to take action on funding.
“I definitely think that we need to work to approve the state audit,” he said. “I think we need to cooperate with all the investigations going on right now.”
The election was one of the most controversial in the school's history, as the board has recently received criticism for approving a $763,000 buyout for Breuder and hiring a $250 per hour public relations firm for communications counsel.
Bernstein underscored the vision of the slate at a previous forum.
“Our vision is to provide our students with the skills and education to be competitive in a 21st century economy,” he said. “In order to do that, we have to stop the corruption, integrate the faculty and pay a good compensation to attract the best faculty.”
Neither Mazzochi nor Bernstein responded to requests for comment on election night.