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NIU president to get $600k severance; school paid $189k in legal fees

Doug Baker, president of Northern Illinois University. | Provided

DEKALB, Ill.  — Northern Illinois University will pay President Doug Baker about $600,000 plus benefits when he steps down June 30.

Baker announced Thursday he is resigning in the wake of a state investigation accusing him and other administrators of mismanagement in hiring consultants. Later that day trustees emerged from a nearly seven-hour closed session to announce his severance arrangement, which provides Baker a full year’s salary of $450,000 and $137,000 to not serve as a member of the College of Business faculty.

Besides the severance deal, NIU has paid more than $189,000 for outside counsel for Baker during the investigation.

NIU’s executive vice president and provost, Lisa Freeman, becomes interim president starting July 1. Baker’s last day is June 30. Freeman said she doesn’t plan to pursue the position permanently but will serve until a replacement is found.

In announcing his resignation, Baker called reaction to the Illinois Office of the Executive Inspector General report released May 31 “a significant distraction.” His contract was to expire in June 2018.