Open letter to NIU’s Board of Trustees regarding Dr. Baker’s severance package

***This letter from DeKalb resident and NIU faculty member Michael Haji-Sheikh references a Washington Post article by Jon Marcus, “Golden parachutes for presidents of public colleges with thin budgets.” ~yinn

Dear Board of Trustees,

As a citizen of Illinois, I have become aware of another embarrassing news article. Unfortunately, the severance of Dr. Baker (and I do mean severance) has continued to bring negative publicity to NIU as shown in the following article – https://www.washingtonpost. com/amphtml/news/grade-point/ wp/2017/08/25/golden-parachutes-for-presidents-of-public-colleges-with-thin-budgets/ . This article is in one of the two largest papers in the country and will affect how we are perceived by the general public.

If your legal adviser thought that the general public would buy the “transition agreement” argument then you were wrong. From the article: “Within two weeks of that report’s public release, Baker resigned in June. In a closed-door meeting of the university’s board of trustees, he was given $587,500 in severance pay, plus up to $30,000 to cover his legal fees. He’s also due a previously unreported $83,287 for unused vacation time, the university acknowledged.” You should have told him he could report to his Faculty job in the Fall – he would never have done it (disgrace has a bitter taste). Continue reading Open letter to NIU’s Board of Trustees regarding Dr. Baker’s severance package

Letter to the Editor: “Cornerstone” Project

To the Editor:

Regarding the Cornerstone DeKalb Project: This project is being considered as a downtown development. Tax increment financing funding is being requested, and the project seems to meet the TIF criteria. I have concerns, which include the following:

• Why a 40 percent request for project costs vs. the 25 percent guidelines?

• How carefully has the financial and population data been reviewed?

• Why is there a rush to approve a major project in fewer than 15 days?

• Has the city done a thorough cost/benefit analysis of past TIF projects to better understand where TIF has been used wisely and where it has not?
Continue reading Letter to the Editor: “Cornerstone” Project