Northern Illinois University President Resigns Amid Hiring Scandal

In the wake of bombshell revelations that his administration deliberately misclassified hires to skirt state rules, Northern Illinois University President Dr. Douglas D. Baker announced his resignation from the school Thursday.

Baker, who took over as president in 2013, made the announcement at Thursday’s Board of Trustee’s meeting.

Calling the reaction to the Inspector General report “a significant distraction,” Baker said that he will leave the university effective June 30.

“I intend to leave the university on June 30, 2017,” Baker said in a statement on the school’s website. “I regret that we have reached this point, as this is a job I love in a place I have come to call home. But I truly do believe that at this point, this course of action is best for the University.”

Baker’s decision comes on the heels of an Inspector General report, sent to the university in late 2016 and released publicly on May 31, detailing hires made by Baker and his staff at the University. Those hires, which paid the employees over $20,000, were supposed to be subject to competitive bidding in accordance with state laws, but the jobs were improperly classified as “affiliate positions” in order to get past that requirement, the report said.

“At the very least, he disregarded known rules and policies relating to procurement and affiliate employment in 2014 and 2015 when he continued to approve extensions of affiliate appointments,” the report concludes.

According to the Chicago Tribune, two of the nine employees involved in the hiring made more than $400,000 for 15 and 18 months of work. 

The university board will consider a transition agreement later today, and will provide an update after the closed session, the school's website said. 

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