Former NIU officer accused of ordering emails deleted
Nancy Suttenfield, a former interim chief financial officer at Northern Illinois University (NIU), ordered her staff to “delete your emails to me to protect yourself,” according to the Edgar County Watchdogs (ECW).
The ECW obtained Suttenfield's emails through a Freedom of Information Act request. The accusations come following several other allegedly unethical acts that Suttenfield committed during her tenure at NIU, according to Kirk Allen and the ECW.
“I am not aware of all of the details or intent of Ms. Suttenfield’s email, but on its face would imply that she was potentially obstructing a future investigation,” Rep. Bob Pritchard (R-Hinckley) told the Dekalb Times. “It is important to remember that emails are never truly deleted but saved and archived. Therefore, it is puzzling that she would ask staff to delete emails via the NIU email system.”
The DeKalb Times reached out to the NIU Board of Trustees for comment, but instead Joseph King, the associate director of NIU’s Office of Institutional Communications, provided comments on behalf of the trustees, he said.
“The issues that you are raising occurred several years ago and have been dealt with by the board and the administration,” King said. “The employee in question is no longer with the university.”
The current NIU administration has faced a state investigation that probed instances of mismanagement of its finances and personnel.
In fact, according to the DeKalb Daily Chronicle, an investigation conducted by the Office of the Executive Inspector General concluded that administrators willingly took steps to circumvent laws governing their positions and competitive bidding practices.
A Daily Chronicle staff editorial argued that new leadership should be brought in.
“Everything won’t be fixed until this tailspinning institution has some new, truly transparent leadership,” the editorial read.
NIU President Doug Baker was also criticized in the editorial and was called upon to step down in favor of a leader offering more transparency.