Trustees to reassess severance ; Board to reevaluate Former president’s pay

DeKALB — The Board of Trustees will meet Thursday to discuss former President Doug Baker’s severance pay.

Wheeler Coleman, Board of Trustees chairperson, will deliver the chair’s report, which consists of the terms of Baker’s resignation and severance pay. The package is being reconsidered after a county judge ruled, Nov. 27,the Board violated the Open Meetings Act when determining Baker’s severance pay, thus voiding the remainder of the payment.

Baker and the Board reached the agreement for his severance package during a June 15 closed door meeting. The former president has already received $587,500 of the $617,500 payment.

Misty Haji-Sheikh, graduate student at large, filed an injunction June 27 to block Baker from receiving his severance pay because she believed the Board violated the Illinois Open Meetings act during that agreement.

State sen. Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) is urging the Board to reject the transitional agreement.

“Failed administrators should not receive another single taxpayer dollar,” Cullerton said in a Dec. 6 press release. “This is a no-brainer. I hope the Board agrees.”

Cullerton -- who is working on regulations that prohibit higher education institutions from paying administrators under investigation or found guilty of university mismanagement -- opposed the Board’s decision to grant Baker the severance pay after he resigned following the release of an Illinois Inspector General’s investigation into illegal hires made by the university.

“Every dollar, every penny, needs to be put toward the betterment and education of our children,” Cullerton said in the press release. “Our state universities and community colleges need to shift their focus to making college more affordable. Plain and simple: state dollars should not be used to line the pockets of unsuccessful administrators.”

Acting President Lisa Freeman will also deliver her president’s report, which includes Fiscal Year 2019 pricing recommendations, contract renewals, approval for campus renovations and reviewal of strategies to support scholarships.

The meeting, which is open to the public, will be held 9 a.m. Thursday in Altgeld Hall, room 315.