Baker 'mismanaged' NIU, inspector general determines
Northern Illinois University (NIU) President Douglas Baker mismanaged the university through improper hiring practices, according to the results of a three-year investigation by the Office of the Executive Inspector General (OEIG).
According to the OEIG’s report, the office received five complaints about improper hiring, reimbursements for travel and overnight stays in NIU facilities that specifically mentioned Ron Walters, Nancy Suttenfield, Ken Wilson and William Pfeiffer. The complaints alleged that Baker and his administration used affiliate employee positions to smooth hiring processes and covered and provided free lodging on campus. The complaints also cited NIU Executive Assistant Doris Hooker’s use of her procurement card to cover commuting expenses for an employee.
NIU spent more than $1 million in public funds to employ people who were not subject to the university’s standard hiring practices, according to an analysis of the report by the Edgar County Watchdogs (ECW). The ECW has provided coverage of elements of the complaints on its Illinois Leaks website.
The OEIG found that Baker mismanaged the university and cannot claim he was not aware that his actions constituted mismanagement. The report concludes with the recommendation that the NIU Board of Trustees “take whatever action it deems appropriate with regard to President Baker.”