Ives criticizes Rauner over NIU board 'malfeasance'
Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) is taking Gov. Bruce Rauner to task over what she sees as his reluctance to speak out about growing “malfeasance” on the part of the Northern Illinois University board of trustees he helped empower.
“Four of Gov. Rauner’s appointees sit on the Northern Illinois University Board of Trustees, and they make up a majority of the voting board members,” according to a press release from Ives, who recently formally launched her campaign to take on Rauner in the 2018 Republican primary, blasting the board’s vote to grant former NIU President Douglas Baker a resignation bonus for a second time.
“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,” the release said. “It also follows a vote of ‘no confidence’ by the Faculty Senate.”
Ives said Rauner has every responsibility to speak out on the situation since he has appointed four members to the board over his first term in Springfield.
“Governor Rauner has chosen not to lead on this issue," Ives said in the release. “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.”
Ives said she first became aware of the NIU situation in 2015, and soon after that met with members of the Edgar County Watchdogs group, according to the release.
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," she said in the release.
Ives said in the release that NIU using taxpayer dollars to bailout employees who run afoul of the rules 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.”
In 2015, she led the charge against the College of DuPage after it was uncovered that university officials had passed bipartisan legislation to limit contracts of administrators and severance agreements at Illinois community colleges, the release said.
“Leaders set the standards for those serving under them,” Ives said in the release. “And, then, they hold people accountable to those standards. The governor’s office is powerful, but the man in it has been weak.”