DeKalb, IL. (ECWd) –
Previously we focused on violations of state rules and the questionable “ethically inspired leadership” by Northern Illinois University’s President Doug Baker and his administration. But perhaps we jumped the gun in placing all the blame on Baker for these violations.
Was Baker only following the lead of his bosses, the NIU Board of Trustees?
The Board of Trustees announced Douglas D. Baker as the incoming President of NIU in April 2013. His term as President would begin July 1, 2013. However, quietly, and behind the scenes, in order to smooth the transition from President Peters to Baker, the Trustees decided to hire Baker as a CONSULTANT in this “Presidential Transition Consulting Agreement”.
Please note the last line of the agreement “This Agreement shall be governed by and construed with the laws of the State of Illinois.” Very good. One would expect that the NIU Trustees, as leaders of a state institution, would acknowledge and follow all applicable state rules.
However, this agreement was titled a “consulting agreement” and further states “In consideration for services rendered, the President-Designate shall receive payment of a consulting fee of $1,731 per day for up to twenty days”—for a total payment of $34,620 (this equates to a prorated amount of his annual salary as President). The State has a $20,000 threshold on the requirement for open bids on consulting contracts.
Are there special rules that apply only to Board level consulting contracts? Or did the Board request an exemption from the State for this no-bid consulting contract? Maybe the Board did not know the state’s basic procurement rules when agreeing to this consulting contract. Or did the Board knowingly violate state procurement rules, similar to many no-bid contracts that the President and his administration later initiated (such as Walters, Suttenfield, Heid, etc)? And that’s just the start to the questions regarding this contract.
Again, this agreement was titled a “consulting agreement”. When paid as a consultant, the clause “plus all reasonable and allowable travel expenses” is allowable. However, the President-Designate was paid on this contract as an EMPLOYEE on June 24, 2013 (click here for HR employee payroll document here).
By now, all our readers should know that COMMUTING COSTS ARE NOT ALLOWED FOR EMPLOYEES UNDER STATE RULES. So, were the Trustees not aware of this state rule regarding commuting? Did they request an exemption from the State Travel Control Board? Did this lapse of adherence to state rules lead Baker to the belief that his later approval of reimbursing the commuting costs to his friends, such as Walters, Pfeiffer, Rodriguez, and Suttenfield, which we have not written about yet, was allowable?
And again, this agreement was titled a “consulting contract”. CONSULTANTS ARE NOT ENTITLED TO EMPLOYEE BENEFITS, such as insurance or contributions to state retirement plans. Yet, per this email, although the subject was “Re: Payment for Consulting Time”, the VP of Human Resources informed President Baker that he could elect to participate in health insurance for himself and his family and also to contribute to a state-sponsored retirement plan (an employee contribution which would also be then matched by NIU for even more compensation) even though he was signed to a CONSULTING agreement. Baker chose to have the DEDUCTIONS MADE AS AN EMPLOYEE. Did the additional payment of benefits to Baker on a consulting contract lead Baker to believe that his later instructions for additional payroll payments made to his chosen consultant/employees “for benefits” was acceptable?
However, the final issue concerning this contract is the signatures. THERE ARE NONE. This has been confirmed by the NIU FOIA Office in this email. How can any payment be made on an unsigned contract? Did this lead Baker to believe that signed contracts were not an absolute necessity (such as with his friends Walters and Ickes), or that contracts could be signed at any time after the fact (such as with CFO Suttenfield or Knight/Heid)?
So we have to ask, has Baker been continuously violating state procurement rules on his own initiative, or was the Board of Trustees directing or supporting him in these violations? Could this explain why there has been no public action as of yet by the Trustees to rein in this administration?
Or is this simply another example of how the rule of law has no meaning in this country anymore?
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Steve P.Posted at 22:00h, 10 July
Kirk Allen, kindly get another hobby besides trying to make mountains out of any molehill you find over at NIU. Its a good institution, with a proud history, and no more dirty laundry than any other large public university. Not sure if you’re a U of I fan trying to hurt the competition, or just a delusional psychopath with too much free time on his hands. Either way, quit trying to unearth conspiracies at NIU that do not exist….
Kirk AllenPosted at 22:24h, 10 July
Steve you sound like those at COD during the exposure of wrong doing there. NIU may well be a good institution but that does not negate the things we are pointing out.
Sadly, you with to justify those bad events as OK since it is no more than any other large public university. Sad, Sad, Sad.
Competition? I could care less what school people go to and have to leanings to any of them. Tell me you can do better than call me names?
Edgar County Watchdogs getting kickbacks?Posted at 20:21h, 31 July
Since the people that run this “site” do not like to be talked to in the way they deserve to be talked to, here you go:
You are getting some sort of benefits from the old corrupt NIU regime. It is obvious. NS was hired only in a temporary role, to help clean up the corruption of the past. Now, ask yourself, why would the people keep publishing this crap even after a year after she left?? Why the continued focus on Walters?
Illinois (and governments run by Democrats in general) creates these rules so to protect corrupt people and their cronies (Edgar CWD??) as a way not to protect the public, but to protect their own interests!! So NS becomes aware of NIU ITS and the old regime corrupt management (the ex-CFO’s daughter runs AADR for Christ’s sake!!!) and others hacking her email and, working with Edgar County WD Corruption squad, while good people try to make things better by reporting up the chain corruption concerns, what would any reasonable person do?? The President brings in someone he trusts because there is no one in Illinois worth trusting and it is a crime? You harp on these things when you should be celebrating (thus to a reasonable person you are working with the old corrupt regime for benefits).
You are involved protecting your financial interest. Make no mistake – you are protecting the corrupt.
Michael Haji SheikhPosted at 17:42h, 03 August
This corruption at NIU is something that the Faculty and the Staff are quite aware of. This administration is only interested in building shopping malls and restaurants. The administrators hired friends and pals and violated State law. The OEIG is in its second year of investigations. The BOT is looking into contracts. Just as corrupt as the previous administrators.
Edgar County Watchdogs getting kickbacks?Posted at 23:21h, 03 August
Give me a break. You are an useful idiot. He hired people he could thought could help NIU out of the cesspool.
Violated state law? Illinois law was created by Madigan and the cesspools like you and the so called Edgar County Watchdogs (those getting kick backs?) so they could attack anyone who looked at stopping the gravy train! The NIU BOT may be the most stupid and corrupt as anyone with an ounce of sense that ever existed. Just sit on a “bored” meeting like the one with Bill “Special Ed” Nicklas and his puppy buses? Problem is, you have special education people, like you, investigating. I bet if you looked at one certain NIU board member and his wife, who has worked at NIU, you would change your tune.
Regarding any malls, would it not make sense to build a safe and nurturing environment for students and to raise revenues for the school to support student development and programs, as opposed to the previous administration’s attempt to take Section 8 housing federal dollars to bring in the cesspool from Chicago and give them Pell Grants? Thus likely further taking taxpayer dollars for Edgar County Watchdogs and themselves?
Michael Haji SheikhPosted at 13:21h, 04 August
Dr. Useful Idiot to you, you are becoming incoherent.
Edgar County Watchdogs getting kickbacks?Posted at 23:08h, 29 July
Competition? How is this – Cannot wait to send you to jail. We believe from various FOIA requests you have conspired to have participated with current and former management to concoct stories not fully telling the truth or doing your do diligence to keep money flowing to you. It is pretty sickening what you are allowed to get away with. But no more.
The State Police, OIG and AG as well as they Chicago Tribune have been provided details. Better empty your bank accounts……
jmkraftPosted at 06:17h, 30 July
Good luck with that.
Kirk AllenPosted at 07:07h, 30 July
Says competition? Who is it that would be competing with a non-profit like us? Money flowing to us? LOL Now that is a funny one. We welcome such an investigation!
Edgar County Watchdogs getting kickbacks?Posted at 20:59h, 30 July
EDITED BY MODERATOR. MODERATOR’s NOTE: “Keep posting these vulgar comments and you will be banned from even trying to submit a comment. When you can speak like you have something between your ears, we will approve the comment”