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Trustees plan to appoint Freeman president Thursday

September 19, 2018

DeKALB – The Northern Illinois University Board of Trustees may appoint Lisa Freeman as the thirteenth president of NIU during a special meeting Thursday.

Trustees voted last week to approve Freeman becoming the next permanent president of the university after they considered input from university constituents and surrounding community members. On Thursday, they authorized the commencement of contract negotiations between the parties over the terms and conditions of such an appointment.

The meeting will include considering Freeman’s contract as permanent president, which includes a $450,000 base salary, $25,000 in additional annual deferred compensation and $25,000 in additional annual performance-based compensation, according to the Thursday meeting agenda. It also said any potential severance payments will comply with the new Illinois Government Severance Pay Act, which becomes effective next year.

“The Board hereby agrees to the terms and conditions of the presidential appointment,” the meeting agenda said.

Freeman became acting president when Doug Baker resigned in June 2017 after a state investigation found that, since Baker became president in 2013, NIU officials improperly classified high-paying consulting positions as affiliate employees on Baker’s orders to avoid state rules that require competitive bidding. Freeman was vice president and provost during Baker’s presidency.

Freeman’s annual salary as acting president is $360,000 with no additional compensation, according to Illinois Board of Higher Education data. Her previous base salary as executive vice-president and provost was $203,500, with $76,500 in additional compensation.

Former NIU President Doug Baker was making $450,000 a year , according to IBHE data, before resigning in June 2017 and Freeman becoming NIU’s acting president about a month later. His resignation came after a state investigation found that, since Baker became president in 2013, NIU officials improperly classified high-paying consulting positions as affiliate employees under Baker’s orders to avoid state rules that require competative bidding.

The NIU Board of Trustees special meeting is scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday in Altgeld Hall on the NIU DeKalb campus.

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