Payouts like the one NIU gave Baker keep Illinois mired in debt, analyst says
After stepping down, controversial Northern Illinois University President Doug Baker accepted a $600,000 severance package.
According to Jose Sanchez, a Better Government Association (BGA) policy analyst who wrote a commentary on cutting high dollar severance packages, Baker's severance package is an example of the state's poor financial management.
“Proponents of high payouts argue the practice allows public departments, including colleges and universities, to recruit and retain high-value talent,” Sanchez wrote. “The practice, however, has cost taxpayers millions of dollars and rivals golden parachutes awarded in the corporate sector.”
Sanchez brought up Baker because he fits the criteria of public executive. Baker left his position in 2017 with a package that included a $450,000 payment to cancel his contract, a $137,500 payment for his time as a tenured professor, and $30,000 for reimbursement for legal fees.
Investigators probed NIU after it was revealed that Baker was hiring consultants at costly rates while providing contracts to his network of friends and colleagues.
Sanchez pointed out that NIU is temporarily restrained by a court to continue making severance packages, but Baker has already received most of his payment.
The BGA is calling on the state to end the exhorbitant payouts to help right its financially sinking ship.