Ives Calls Out Rauner’s Failure to Lead on NIU Board Malfeasance

For Immediate Release

 

Ives Calls Out Rauner’s Failure to Lead on NIU Board Malfeasance

“Governor Rauner has chosen not to lead… He isn’t in charge of the state because he never took charge, even when he could have.”

December 7, 2017 – One of the many things the Governor of Illinois is in charge of is appointing trustees to university boards. Four of Governor Rauner’s appointees sit on the Northern Illinois University Board of Trustees, and they make up a majority of the voting board members.  Tonight, the NIU Board of Trustees is scheduled to vote for a second time on whether to give a resignation bonus to failed NIU President Douglas Baker. President Baker’s resignation came on the heels of scathing Auditor General and OEIG reports clearly indicating his administration failed to comply with Illinois laws and “mismanaged” the university. It also follows a vote of “no confidence” by the Faculty Senate. State Representative Jeanne Ives, a Republican Candidate for Governor, released the following statement:

“In 2015, Jim Mason, Dekalb resident, reached out to my office about possible violations of Illinois procurement law going on at the highest levels at NIU.  I asked Jim and Kirk Allen and John Kraft, f the Edgar County Watchdogs, to my office to discuss the issue. From that point on, Allen and Kraft worked to uncover, document and report the malfeasance of the Baker administration,” said State Representative Jeanne Ives. 

Unfortunately, at the end of the investigation the Edgar County Watchdogs reported that the NIU board had, “apparently taken the stand that when a state employee violates policy, state law, and commits crimes against the University, they are to be financially rewarded for their shortcomings.”

“NIU has been using taxpayer dollars to bailout their employees’ wrong-doing, said Ives. “This is a clear example of how the politically-connected in Illinois protect themselves and their lifestyles on the backs of hard working families and businesses who don’t enjoy the same clout.  After the documented misuse of taxpayer money at the College of DuPage in 2015, one would think that the rest of higher education institutions in Illinois would ensure full compliance with state law.”

Ives led the fight in 2015 to audit the College of DuPage and passed bipartisan legislation to limit contracts of administrators and severance agreements at Illinois community colleges. This legislation was expanded on the following year to include state universities.

“Governor Rauner has chosen not to lead on this issue, said Ives. “In perhaps his first honest moment, Rauner told the Chicago Press Corp he isn’t in charge of the state. He isn’t in charge of the state because he never took charge, even when he could have.

“He has not spoken up once about the malfeasance at NIU. Four of the board members are his own appointees. In failing to publicly hold those board members accountable, Rauner has abdicated his responsibility to the people of Illinois. Leaders set the standards for those serving under them. And, then, they hold people accountable to those standards. The Governor’s Office is powerful, but the man in it has been weak. I commend the Edgar County Watchdogs for exposing this taxpayer-funded corruption.”

The Edgar County Watchdogs cite the following as examples of misconduct the NIU Board of Trustees has rewarded

·         Pay the defense attorney bills for employees who plead GUILTY of crimes against the University (here)

·         Pay an employee, and assign him “special duties” after FOUNDED reports of sexual harassment are publicly released

·         Pay the President of NIU to go away, even though they have every right – and I would argue the fiduciary duty – to simply terminate him without any payments. A scathing report from the OEIG labeled his performance as “mismanagement of NIU” – and this was not the first FOUNDED report of his shortcomings.

·         State Auditor slammed NIU for noncompliance with FOIA and records retention laws

·         Senior Staff, and Baker hire, directs others to delete their emails to her “to protect themselves”

·         $468,000 paid for a Baker “subcontractor hire “report” that was never issued

·         Alleged software piracy of former NIU Director of IT, James Fatz

·         Pres Baker used NIU credit cards for wife’s travel

·         Voicemail left on how to avoid “harsh” government procurement practices

·         Abuse of travel and procurement rules

·         Employee living in a dormitory and harassing others

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For more information or to book Jeanne Ives, contact Kathleen Murphy at 630-329-4680 orkathleenemurphy26@gmail.com

 

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