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Thursday, December 07, 2017
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Tom Cullerton disgusted with bloated handout to failed NIU executive
VILLA PARK- State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) is outraged that ousted Northern Illinois University President Doug Baker will receive another state contract from the university.
A judge ruled last month that the university violated the Open Meetings Act when it approved Baker’s bloated severance package this summer soon after he announced his resignation; therefore the severance package is now null and void. Today the board of trustees met and voted unanimously in favor of a comparable contract for Baker.
“Failed administrators and executives shouldn’t receive golden parachutes for wasting taxpayers’ time and money,” Cullerton said. “Our state universities and community colleges need to stop abusing state funds. These dollars should go toward educating our children, not lining the pockets of ineffective administrators.”
Earlier this year, Cullerton was outraged that NIU had agreed to pay Baker $600,000 plus benefits when he announced his plans to step down this summer in the wake of the Illinois Inspector General’s investigation into illegal hires made by the university.
The Inspector General’s report was publicly released on May 31. The report details hires made by Baker and his administration that were paid contracts over $20,000, which are supposed to be subject to competitive bidding in accordance to state law. The jobs were incorrectly classified to get past the requirement according to the report.
“State funds are not Monopoly money,” Cullerton said. “Our public universities and community colleges cannot collect $200 every time they pass go. We cannot afford to waste a single cent on failed administrators who betrayed the public’s trust and abused their great responsibility of educating the future leaders of our great nation.”
Cullerton has been advocating for reforms to adjust the manner by which public universities and community colleges negotiate severance agreements after reports of abuse at College of DuPage, NIU and the University of Illinois.
This year he is fighting for tougher regulations and transparency at public higher education institutions.
“Our public higher education institutions need to focus on finding ways to make college more affordable for students,” Cullerton said. “State funds are meant to educate our children, not for overpaid administrators to mismanage and waste. This legislative session I plan on tackling and putting an end to this academic culture that perpetuates backroom deals for high paid executives and bloated payouts for those who fail to do their job.”
Cullerton is working on tougher regulations to stop state universities and community colleges from paying out administrators while under investigation or found guilty of university mismanagement.
Senate Democrats Caucus Staff
John J. Cullerton, Senate President
Stratton Building, F-Section