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Local

Trustees expected to appoint Freeman president Thursday

Northern Illinois University acting President Lisa Freeman speaks after the Board of Trustees approved negotiations to remove the "acting" tag from her title and appoint her the permanent president of NIU during meeting meeting Sept. 13 in Altgeld Hall on the NIU campus.
Northern Illinois University acting President Lisa Freeman speaks after the Board of Trustees approved negotiations to remove the "acting" tag from her title and appoint her the permanent president of NIU during meeting meeting Sept. 13 in Altgeld Hall on the NIU campus.

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 Sept. 13, 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. The contract 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-paid consultants 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.

Baker was making $450,000 a year, according to IBHE data, before resigning in June 2017.

Freeman was named NIU’s acting president about a month later.

The board’s special meeting will be at 11 a.m. Thursday in Altgeld Hall on the NIU DeKalb campus.

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