State Representative Allen Skillicorn (R-East Dundee) says the lavish severance package announced for outgoing Northern Illinois University President Doug Baker is ridiculous. At the end of May, an Inspector General investigation found that Baker’s administration made illegal hires for failing to bid out contracts, costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“We are in the midst of a state budget crisis, with higher education funding a critical aspect of the crisis,” said Skillicorn. “But instead of relieving Baker for cause, NIU has given him a huge severance package worth more than $600,000. How can we have an honest conversation about funding higher education and providing critical funding for MAP Grants, and other similar programs, when the boards we entrust to administer the finances at our education institutions make ridiculous decisions like this?”
Under the deal reached with Baker, he will receive roughly $617,000 for salary and expenses. This announcement comes on the heels of NIU planning to eliminate or reduce 150 staff positions due to the state budget impasse.
“We have students at universities across the state worried about being able to continue their education due to funding shortfalls,” said Skillicorn. “The last thing we need is for them to have insult added to injury by yet another higher education institution paying out a dishonest president instead of investing the limited resources they have in the students. I won’t stand for it and we need to enact more reform immediately.”
In 2015, the College of DuPage came under fire for a similarly lavish payout. That incident led to legislation to limit severance packages, but Skillicorn says the NIU incident shows more reform and oversight is needed to protect taxpayers.