WEB EXCLUSIVE: BREAKING NEWS: Chapdelaine absent from school

Jan. 8, 2004, 10:50 a.m.—Rock Valley College (RVC) Board Chairman Randy Schaefer confirmed Jan. 8 RVC President Roland Chapdelaine cancelled all his meetings for late Tuesday through Friday. Schaefer also confirmed that Chapdelaine was not on campus Wednesday or Thursday and would probably be absent Friday. Sources said Chapdelaine left campus early Tuesday.

Schaefer said Chapdelaine “took the days off on a doctor’s advice.” Two messages were left at Chapdelaine’s home for comment on this article Thursday and Friday. Chapdelaine did not return the calls by time of publication.

Schaefer said the board will vote on Chapdelaine’s future Jan. 13 at the next Board of Trustees meeting. The meeting starts at 5:15 p.m. in RVC’s technology center.

Schaefer said he has been in regular contact with Chapdelaine and said he contacted Chapdelaine Tuesday. He added that no other trustee has recently been in contact with Chapdelaine.

Schaefer would not confirm whether he informed Chapdelaine Tuesday that he would be voted out Jan. 13.

Schaefer said the Rockford Register Star’s reporting on the payout figures for Chapdelaine’s resignation or termination were “inaccurate.”

As to how much Chapdelaine’s possible departure may cost taxpayers, Schaefer said that information would be revealed at the Jan. 13 meeting.

According to sources, Chapdelaine was scheduled to give a 30-minute speech to faculty Thursday at an important midyear conference. The sources also said it is highly unusual for Chapdelaine to not be on campus during this time because the new semester is about to begin Monday and preparations continue for the college’s renewal of its 10-year accreditation with the North Central Association.

Don Williams, RVC’s former chief operating officer, confirmed Thursday his last day of employment with RVC was Monday. Williams said he retired and didn’t want to comment on Chapdelaine’s future with RVC.

Sources said Penny Billman, executive assistant to Chapdelaine and associate vice president of Strategic Effectiveness, did not have her $90,000 per year contract that expires June 30 renewed. Billman is considered second in command behind Chapdelaine.

“Penny Billman’s contract was not voted on by the board because it was not presented to the board,” said Trustee Chris Johnson Friday morning. The board was scheduled to vote on Billman’s contract in December.

Billman could not be reached for comment at RVC or her home. Billman’s voicemail at RVC refers calls to her home.

Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) President and Chief Executive Officer Joe Cipfl said Wednesday that RVC administration and board trustees would be informed by the end of Friday whether his office would recommend to its board Jan. 16 that RVC be given back its full recognition status. RVC was downgraded by ICCB last February for reporting inaccurate and late financial information to ICCB for four consecutive years during Chapdelaine’s tenure.

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