Regents stall lease proposal

By Eric Krol

A proposed streamlining process for NIU lease approval remains stalled.

At last month’s Board of Regents meeting, a discussion paper on making Regents lease approval regulations more efficient was tabled for review after lengthy debate.

Because of the debate, the Regents Finance and Facilities Committee decided to postpone a scheduled first reading of the proposal and consult with Board Legal Counsel Carol Hansen-Fines to make modifications.

However, Chancellor’s Office Legal Counsel Ken Davidson said no contact was made with Hansen-Fines since last month’s meeting on the lease subject.

Davidson said Hansen-Fines has been in trial and he has been involved with labor matters.

NIU Legal Counsel George Shur said he has not been contacted by the Regents on the revisions, but Associate Legal Counsel Norden Gilbert said he has been involved with the proposal in the past.

Under current regulations, all leases must be approved by the Regents, which govern NIU, Illinois State University in Normal and Sangamon State University in Springfield.

The regulation change would allow leases of $25,000 or less to be approved by the university president, leases of $25,001 to $99,999 would require Regents Chancellor Roderick Groves’ consent, while leases totalling $100,000 and up would continue to require the Regents vote.

However, at last month’s F & F Committee meeting, the proposal came under question from several Regents and Hansen-Fines.

Specific wording on the numerous and differing types of leases was among the questions raised.

Hansen-Fines questioned whether the language of the proposal called for all leases with a possible conflict of interest to come before the Regents for approval.

NIU Student Regent James Mertes had a different concern. Mertes inquired on the type of written assurances that NIU has before entering into a lease agreement.

The proposal would streamline minor leases at NIU, such as the $200 leases for renting classrooms in the suburbs.