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July 13, 2024

NIU – Business as usual in Illinois?

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On August 8, 2016

Nepotism: “bestowal of official favors on one’s relatives” (Black’s Law Dictionary, 8th Edition).

Nepotism is normally frowned upon within a public body and most public officials who truly care about protecting the taxpayers have anti-nepotism policies.  NIU’s policy is as follows:

“Faculty and administrative employees are selected for employment and promotion without regard to relationship by blood or marriage or civil union in accordance with appropriate qualifications for the performance of specified duties. However, no individual shall participate in personnel decisions involving employment, retention, promotion, salary, leave of absence or other direct benefit to an individual employee who is a member of the same immediate family or immediate household. Immediate family includes an employee’s spouse, party to a civil union, parents, brothers, sisters, children, and children of an employee’s party to a civil union.”

It should be noted that there is no reference to avoidance of nepotism upon initial hiring.  In fact, it appears the policy went through a revamp in 2011 and had that wording removed as can be viewed in this PDF.  By all indications, the board went in the wrong direction as now there is no prohibition of nepotism upon initial hiring.

An interesting e-mail has surfaced from our old friend, NIU’s ex-VP Bill Nicklas, to the ex-CFO Nancy Suttenfield. He was forwarding an email he had received on 11/14/13 from an employee in the Finance division.  At the time, Nicklas was VP for public safety and community relations—not human resources, nor in the employee’s chain of command.  But the employee approached Nicklas with her work complaints, rather than following the more appropriate channels of either taking her problems up the chain of command in her own department, or requesting support from human resources.  Why?  She seems to know Nicklas, and had apparently intended for him to act on her behalf to solve her issue.  If so, her request would be inappropriate or questionable, but it is not nepotism.

So why do we bring up nepotism?  This employee’s husband is a Trustee of the University.  Subsequent to the employee’s email to Nicklas, the Trustee also contacted Nicklas and asked for Nicklas’ help in the situation.  Nicklas agreed to intercede at Suttenfield’s or Steve’s (VP for Human Resources) level, many levels of management above the employee’s level.

The Trustee appears to have used his office–outside his normal role in his position of power over the University–to intercede in the daily operations of the University on behalf of his wife.  Does that not qualify as nepotism?

Shouldn’t the Trustee, who happens to be a lawyer, be aware of how questionable his actions appear?

Is this Trustee’s apparent meddling into administrative matters on behalf of his wife indicative of the Board’s view as a whole?  Could that be a contributing reason why the Board of Trustees is not taking action against the numerous violations of state rules by President Doug Baker and his ethically challenged leadership?

Again, I digress, this is Illinois!

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  • commenter
    Posted at 19:53h, 24 August Reply

    Man, the (DELETED BY MODERATOR) almost had me. Yes, the incompetent narcissist Bill “puppy bus” Nicklaus is indeed corrupt – how else could he survive? He has no discernible skills. But wasn’t he there before Baker? Like Eddie Williams daughter Karen Baker (talk about nepotism but we have never seen where you were concerned about that before, for obvious reasons)? Lisa Freeman? What needs to happen is term limits on the Trustees – how long have those clowns been there? They have run that place into the ground, like the rest of Illinois.

    You need to really ask why did Puppy Bus give the same Trustee rides to and from his home to work after the Trustee’s surgery.

    However, this is the proof that you get kickbacks from those pigs some call people. You NEVER said anything about nepotism from Eddie Williams hiring his daughter as AVP for AADR – think about it – she and Puppy bus could go after anyone who went after the gravy train with trumped up accusations or charges.

    And didn’t the ex-NIU controller’s wife work for Eddie in his “outside business interests?”

    Tell me, have you ever looked into that, oh crooked coward??


    • Jim G
      Posted at 18:11h, 01 December Reply

      What an angry and bitter sounding person. Does a guilty verdict of sex based harassment do that to a person?

      • dunno
        Posted at 19:59h, 20 December Reply

        Lol. Pull the actual appeal and subsequent appeal like we did. Got a job yet? No one hires incompetent people

      • Martha May
        Posted at 17:45h, 30 December Reply

        I hear someone is going to be a surprise witness against Keith “stealer of the coffee fund” Jackson regarding his lack of competence??

        • Michael Haji Sheikh
          Posted at 14:06h, 31 December Reply

          You should actually read what the States Attorney said before you make baseless accusations. Richard Schmack – States Attorney DeKalb County, in an interview in the Daily-Chronicle, said that the charges should have never been filed and were completely baseless. I guess violating state contract regulations by the Baker regime created a bunch of bitter children.

          • interesting
            Posted at 14:25h, 11 January

            Really?? So an AVP and several others lose their jobs over it? CFO resigns?? Original prosecutor charges him?? Thing is, is he SHOULD HAVE KNOWN and if he did not, HE IS GROSSLY INCOMPETENT!! So you spin it anyway you want. He could not survive anywhere else except the corruption he helped foster at NIU.

      • Bill
        Posted at 19:42h, 15 January Reply

        Where did you go coward? Trump takes over in a week. I’m going to own you’re sissy ass!!!

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