Skillicorn Blasts NIU President’s Golden Parachute

A press release from State Rep. Allen Skillicorn:

Skillicorn Calls NIU Pres. Huge Severance Package Ridiculous

CRYSTAL LAKE – 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.


Skillicorn Blasts NIU President’s Golden Parachute — 6 Comments

  1. Mr. Baker is resigning as the result of an Illinois Office of Executive Inspector General (OEIG) report released to the public on May 31, 2017.

    The report deal with improperly classifying hires.

    The issue of classifying employees has become a hot topic in Illinois government:

    – NIU classified consultants as affiliate employees to circumvent competitive bids (that is the subject of the above blog post).

    Google OEIG case # 14-01383 for more information.


    – Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) hired people in the “staff assistant” position.

    The jobs were patronage hires that were not posted.

    The hiring of staff assistants in this fashion started under Governor Blagojevich and escalated under Governor Quinn.

    Furthermore, some staff assistants were over time subsequently transferred to union covered positions, making it difficult to fire the patronage hires.

    Google Shakman Illinois for more information.

    Also Google OEIG Case Numbers 11-01567 (part 1: 164 pages), 11-01567 (part 2: 252 pages),


    – McHenry County

    The inaugural voter elected county board chair requested two positions that were filled with patronage hires whom had previously been paid by the PAC of the County Board Chair, and worked in the County Board Chair’s State Representative office.

    The positions were not posted.

    The scheme was to hire under unfilled positions, then reclassify to newly created positions, unrelated to the positions and departments in which they were actually hired.

    The full county board was not aware of the hires, although the proposed county board resolution states the hires are to benefit not only the County Board Chair, but also the County Board.


    – Cook County patronage hires

    Google Cook County Shakman

  2. Who approved of this golden parachute?

    Was it the NIU trustees that Bruce Rauner appointed?

  3. Bruce Rauner appointed 3 Trustees and re-appointed a fourth to the NIU Board of Trustees in January of 2017.

    The other three trustees were appointed prior to Governor Rauner’s term.

    Not sure if it is public which trustees voted for the transitional agreement.

    There are a several questions reqarding the now ex President Baker’s original agreement with NIU in April 2013 (Bruce Rauner was elected Governor November 4, 2014), which was a Presidential Transition Consulting Agreement.

    Edgar County Watchdogs has probably the best coverage of the whole Baker situation, along with the Daily Chronicle.

    It seems some further thought needs to be put into transitional agreement concept, in terms of how they differentiate from other employment and separation agreements.

    The wording of his current contract (prior to the time he was released) has an impact on the transition / separation agreement.

    The best way to avoid high transition / separation agreements, is to have more employer friendly language in the employment agreement, but there are a lot of factors and no way to predict every situation.

    There have been cases of employees fighting a firing for years, tying up money and resources, so the permissible litigation / case law also plays a role in these transitional / separation agreements.

    Doug Baker also had a high salary, and that is a factor into transition / separation agreements.

    Another factor is the faculty wanted Baker gone.

    So the Trustees no doubt weighed all their options and thought this was the best resolution.

    Since Baker preceded Rauner, it is doubtful Rauner’s selection of Trustees had much if anything to do with the matter.

  4. Here’s an overview of the NIU President Baker’s transitional agreement, and separation agreements with other public college and university Presidents and administrators in Illinois.

    The article also states administrators in Illinois public universities increased by over 33% between 2004 – 2010, while the number of students grew by less than 3%.

    Over 1/2 of the 2,465 university administrators receive a salary of $100,000 or more.


    Illinois Policy Institute

    Northern Illinois University President to Receive $600K Severance Package Amid Patronage Scandal

    July 16, 2017

    by Austin Berg

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