Cunningham introduces bills to change how college executives are paid
In a continuing effort to slow the increase in college tuition costs, State Sen. Bill Cunningham (D-Dist. 18), chairman of the State Senate Subcommittee on Higher Education Executive Compensation, recently introduced several bills to change how Illinois’ higher education executives are paid.
The proposed changes are in response to a recent report that highlighted a number of inappropriate activities by the administrative personnel at some colleges and universities, including the recent compensation scandal at the College of DuPage.
“Institutions of higher learning in our state have been plagued by recent controversies involving mismanagement or misconduct by college presidents, which cost taxpayers and tuition payers millions of dollars in legal fees and severance payouts," Cunningham said. "We need to reform our laws to ensure more transparency and accountability in the administration of our public colleges and universities."
One of Cunningham's bills would create more transparency in the hiring and contracting process for executives, requiring the terms of contracts to be publicly disclosed before being given final approval.
Another bill would make it so that special benefits often given to university presidents, such as allowances for automobile and housing expenses, may not be acknowledged as pensionable income.
“Illinois has several excellent institutions of higher learning," Cunningham said. "It's disappointing that we need to focus on these negative issues, but it is necessary that we learn from past transgressions and reform our laws to ensure that Illinois colleges and universities are above board in all of their financial practices.”
Cunningham’s reform package, Senate Bills 2155-2159, is currently in the State Senate Subcommittee on Higher Education Executive Compensation, of which Cunningham is the chairman.