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13 INVESTIGATES: Jim Ryan fired by Rock Valley College following an investigation

ROCKFORD (WREX) —  Rock Valley College has fired its Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Through a Freedom of Information Act Request, 13 Investigates obtained a copy of Jim Ryan’s Notice of Termination sent by RVC President Doug Jensen.

The letter was sent November 4th and outlines three main reasons for Ryan’s dismissal.  One of those reasons deals with Ryan’s involvement on the Rockford Local Development Corporation Board of Directors. Specifically it states that Ryan failed to disclose to the college his membership on this RLDC board and during that time advocated for the college to enter into a development agreement to which RLDC was a party.

While the letter does not say what that agreement was, RLDC served as the developer for the Colman Village Project between the City of Rockford and RVC.

Jensen also states:

“You violated numerous policies and procedures meant to protect the interests of students, employees, the College and the taxpayers of the College District, including willfully and insubordinately disregarding the limits of your authority to enter into transactions or otherwise director affairs of the College;

You demonstrated a disregard for the College’s obligations under its collective bargaining agreements with bargaining units, even when warned that your actions may have labor implications, and failed to comply with the College’s general obligations under labor law, resulting in significant legal exposure for the College;”

RVC declined to comment on this matter today, however it tells 13 Investigates the college’s board approved Beth Young to take over as the new COO. She previously worked as the CFO for the college and now the search for her replacement is underway.

Ryan joined Rock Valley college in 2017 after working at the city for 18 years, 11 of those as city administrator under former Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey.

During his time with the city, Ryan oversaw projects projects like the UW Health Sports Fatory. At RVC, Ryan was tasked with overseeing IT, facilities and capital projects. Most recently, he was involved in RVC’s partnership with the city to build an advanced technology center at the old Barber Colman Factory near South Main Street. That project came to an end when RVC announced its intention to move the ATC to the old Rockford Register News Tower.

Mary Sugden

Mary Sugden is the Investigative Reporter at WREX. She joined the team in December 2014 as the evening producer. In 2015 she made the move to evening reporter before joining the 13 Investigates team in May of 2018.

She grew up in Woodstock, Illinois and graduated from Woodstock High School in 2009. Mary graduated with a degree in Journalism and Marketing from Loyola University Chicago in 2013.

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