ILLINOIS STATE SENATE DISTRICT 28: Murphy urges state to crack down on lavish university administrator severance packages
Illinois State Senate District 28 issued the following announcement on Aug. 27.
Senate Higher Education Committee’s hearing on transitional pay for university administrators, State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) criticized the practice of administrators leaving their positions and receiving their full salary despite poor performance.
“This is a gross misuse of taxpayer dollars,” said Murphy. “We need to be good fiscal stewards of our state’s education system, and sending often-times disgraced administrators off with a fat check is utterly reckless.”
Public university administrators are able to resign from their post and receive “golden parachute” severance packages that are equal or similar to their entire salary, in many cases despite a worsening performance of the university. Many administrators are rehired by their university as professors and earn significantly more than other faculty.
The latest administrator to come under scrutiny for this practice is Western Illinois University President Jack Thomas who resigned in June 2019. Thomas is to receive his full six-figure salary and benefits for two years. Student enrollment at Western fell by over 40 percent during Thomas’ tenure as president.
Lawmakers passed the Government Severance Pay Act in 2018 to limit the amount paid in university severance packages, however, the law only applies to new contracts.
During the hearing, State Senator Murphy suggested amending the Government Severance Pay Act to apply to all university contracts and that the Illinois Attorney General look into taking preventative legal action.
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