DeKalb, IL. (ECWd) –
On April 26, 2015, we published the article “NIU Official dials wrong number – leaves message”. To recap, that was a story about an errant phone message left by Bill Nicklas, then NIU’s VP of Operations, in which Mr. Nicklas thought he was informing a vendor that he could use an open purchase order to avoid the harsh constraints of the public procurement system.
But was this his first time expressing his desire to violate public procurement rules? It appears not.
Remember President Baker’s friends Dr. Pfeiffer (consultant placed on payroll to avoid procurement rules) and the Talance Group (inexperienced search firm issued a contract due to connections with the Administration)? In our 12/12/15 article ‘Cronyism and Procurement Violations at Northern Illinois University”, we included a 4/18/14 email from Dr. Pfeiffer to Mr. Nicklas, sent as an introduction to the Talance Group. Mr. Nicklas’ responsive email to the vendor is quite illuminating as to the mindset of the NIU Administration under President Baker.
In part it stated:
“It is my intent to transform the ‘compliance’ culture and defensive, legalistic approach that has gradually taken over the unit…”
Really? You want to put that in writing?
It must be mentioned that Mr. Nicklas had just been promoted in March 2014 to VP of Operations by President Baker, after the President “reassigned” the previous VP.
So this raises the following question:
- Could it be that Mr. Nicklas was promoted because President Baker approved of, and agreed with, Mr. Nicklas’ already established mindset, or
- Could it be that Mr. Nicklas was promoted because he showed a complete willingness to follow the President’s lead down the path of corruption?
Perhaps we should ask the NIU Board of Trustees if the Administration’s apparent indifference to state rules is the attitude that they condone.