President

State Senator Outraged Over NIU President's Severance Payout

Baker announced Thursday that he is resigning in the wake of a state investigation accusing him and other administrators of mismanagement when it comes to hiring consultants

Northern Illinois University will pay President Doug Baker about $600,000 plus benefits when he steps down later this month

Baker announced Thursday that he is resigning in the wake of a state investigation accusing him and other administrators of mismanagement when it comes to hiring consultants.

Under a deal negotiated with the school, Baker will receive a full year's salary of $450,000 and $137,000 to not serve as a member of the College of Business faculty.

That payout of nearly $600,000 did not sit well with State Senator Tom Cullerton, who blasted the decision and said that paying school officials accused of mismanagement "needs to stop." 

As students across the state of Illinois are struggling to pay tuition and fees, our public higher education institutions are handing out golden parachutes to disgraced administrators for violating taxpayers' trust," Cullerton said in a statement. "What message are we sending? This needs to stop now. 

"Illinois needs to get out of the business of paying university administrators off for their mismanagement and failing to comply with state laws," Cullteron added. 

Baker’s decision to resign 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.

“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."

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. 

NIU's executive vice president and provost, Lisa Freeman, will serve as the DeKalb school's interim president starting July 1. Baker's last day is June 30.

Freeman says she doesn't plan to pursue the position permanently and will serve until a replacement is found.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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