Everything won’t be fixed until this tailspinning institution has some new, truly transparent leadership.Indeed.
Baker’s response to the report – passionate protests aside – suggests he was either inattentive, willfully ignorant, or not entirely truthful.
Baker’s claim that he didn’t know the school was paying a “consultant” more than $100,000 and allowing him to live in an on-campus dorm rent-free for more than a year is either a gross oversight or not true.
Our take from the state investigative report years in the making is that Baker and Walters were at the epicenter of power at NIU for more than a year, with others asked to make their desires reality.
On Walters’ recommendation, the university hired Nancy Suttenfield as chief financial officer – again as an affiliate employee – paying her more than $425,000 over 15 months. The fee for the headhunting agency that found Suttenfield was more than $60,000, again too high, and should have been run through a competitive bidding process. To get around that, the school used money from the NIU Foundation.
What did the school get from these backdoor hires? As much scandal as progress. Huge sums were spent without any competition, which usually leads to waste – and today the school bemoans that it needs more state funding.
NIU was and is in the midst of a difficult period in its history. It needs leaders to be committed to transparency and following the rules, not those prone to excess and secrecy.
Baker should go when his contract expires in 2018, if not sooner.
The editorial board of DeKalb's Daily Chronicle have had it with Northern Illinois University president Doug Baker.