: NIU’s Baker getting ‘golden parachute’

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DeKALB – A Chicago-area lawmaker voiced his frustrations with Northern Illinois University President Doug Baker receiving about $600,000, plus benefits, after stepping down from his position June 30.

Baker announced his resignation at the top of Thursday’s board of trustees meeting after a report from a state investigation concluded he had mismanaged the university.

Sen. Tom Cullerton, D-Villa Park, called for tougher regulations on administrators under investigation or found guilty of university mismanagement, according to a media statement released Friday.

“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 the 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.”

Cullerton introduced Senate Bill 1655 in 2015 requiring that before a board of trustees of a public university enters into or amends a severance agreement with an executive of the university, the board must provide public notice of the severance agreement and must submit the severance agreement to various committees of the General Assembly.

The bill didn’t make it past a second reading in the Senate.

NIU spokesman Joe King said that since the agreement with Baker was a transition agreement and not an employment agreement, it was not subject to being publicly posted before consideration, under NIU law.

NIU Executive Vice President Lisa Freeman will take the helm as interim president until a replacement can be found. King said it is still too early to determine whether the university will hire a consultant to assist in the search, or when the process could begin.

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June 16, 2017 at 08:11PM

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: NIU’s Baker getting ‘golden parachute’

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