Baker: Explain the raises

By Sharon May

Please read this as a continuation of my Wednesday Northern Star letter to the editor.

Nancy Suttenfield’s 33 percent raise was simply justified on her Personnel Action Form as “per President Baker;” this reason was included in my Aug. 4 letter. Misinformation?

However, since my original letter, Baker states (repeatedly) that he needed to give Suttenfield (coincidentally also a 10 percent full-time equivalent) this raise since NIU must retain her services; he asserts there were no qualified applicants found in the nationwide search for a chief financial officer.

Of course, Baker is entitled to his opinion. Personally, I find it very difficult to believe.

A chief financial officer needs to be aware of the regulatory environment in which his or her organization operates.

For example, I would think at least one of the candidates that applied for this position would have had some inkling non-salary compensation could be taxable to the individual and should be reported by the employer on the employee’s Form W-2.

The interim chief financial officer’s 2013 Form W-2, as filed with the government, includes salary only; however, Suttenfield also received the use of a hotel room at the Holmes Student Center during 2013; this room was paid for by NIU. Since her Form W-2 was not corrected as of Aug. 15, I assume she is not knowledgeable about tax law.

To conclude, the raises as stated were correct, and justifications for both raises were quoted directly from personnel forms. Where is the misinformation?

And why is President Baker so defensive of his decision in granting these raises?