NIU to consolidate human resources

By Mark McGowan

NIU is consolidating its human resources but student representatives are afraid the process will lead to more bureaucracy.

Lowden Hall officials are responding to growing pressure to add staff, increase benefits, offer better services and buy newer equipment, said Anne Kaplan, executive assistant to the president.

Kaplan, speaking at Friday’s Organization, Productivity and Salaries committee meeting, said NIU employees fall under four areas—Finance & Planning, Academic Affairs, Student Affairs and Business and Operations—but all are paid through the central payroll office.

“These kinds of human resources service issues have put new burdens on divisions that are already understaffed,” Kaplan said.

SA Vice President John Quilico said he is concerned that consolidating human resources will “snowball” into a vice presidential position, leading to assistants, operating staffs and support staffs.

However, La Tourette and Kaplan said this won’t happen.

Constant changes in payroll, mostly mandates on deductions, also add to the burden. This year, the payroll offices began deducting social security for employees not in the State University Retirement System.

NIU plans to move the human resources services to the old Floor to Ceiling Store, 1515 W. Lincoln Hwy., vacating space in Altgeld Hall. NIU President John La Tourette said a consultant will be hired to study the empty room after the move.

La Tourette hopes the consolidation will improve record keeping. NIU recently made an $80,000 mistake in budgeting from a delay in getting personnel data.

“That’s just inexcusable that we couldn’t get a printout of who’s going to be on the list and how much it’s going to cost,” La Tourette said. “We were spinning our wheels.”

The consolidation should also cut costs. La Tourette said NIU spends about $1 million a year to respond to Board of Regents and Illinois Board of Higher Education data requests.