College of DuPage employees' salaries made public

Published: 9/9/2008 12:07 AM

As early as next month, every employee at College of DuPage will see his or her annual compensation posted online.

Depending on whom you ask, that is either the epitome of open government or the end of privacy and safety.

"This does not make us transparent," COD Trustee Kathy Wessel said, adding the proposal was "vindictive" and served no "practical purpose."

On the other end of the spectrum at Monday night's board of trustees meeting was the newest member, Kory Atkinson, who advocated posting all salaries.

"As a recipient of public funds, there is a certain amount of compromise for privacy," Atkinson said.

The issue arose when Elmhurst resident Adam Andrzejewski asked the board to release all employees' salaries on behalf of the organization he formed, ForTheGoodOfIllinois. Org. He said it's his mission to push for greater transparency by public agencies.

Salaries, he said, are about 70 percent of COD's budget, which is why taxpayers have a right to see them.

Not all the trustees agreed. Voting to post the data online were Atkinson, Chairman Micheal McKinnon, David Carlin and Joseph Snyder. Wessel opposed the motion. Choosing to abstain from the vote were Vice Chairman Mark Nowak and Joseph Wozniak.

Faculty said they're worried the release of their names, combined with salaries, could lead to serious problems.

"The annual earnings along with additional information about the employee, that can then be easily found on the COD website, provide information for identity theft," said Glenn Hansen, president of the College of DuPage Faculty Association, in a letter to the board.

Atkinson wanted the online information comparable to the Web site That site lists annual income for public school teachers as reported to the Teachers Retirement System and Illinois State Board of Education.

It includes more than just salary; it lists everything that's taxable income, such as stipends, annuities and bonuses.

COD interim President Harold MacAninch said the comparable agency for community college employees is the State Universities Retirement System. He plans to bring an example of the data back to trustees at their Sept. 18 meeting and said the salaries for the 2007-08 fiscal year should be online in October.