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Bill Would Ban State Universities From Using Executive Headhunters

Illinois State Capitol

Illinois State Capitol buillding in Springfield (AP Photo)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — A bill that has passed the Illinois House would bar state universities hiring executive headhunters.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Dahl reports, under the law, funds composed of tuition and tax dollars could not be used to pay the expensive companies used to recruit highly-paid talent, such as outgoing University of Illinois President Michael Hogan.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Dahl reports

State Rep. Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) is sponsoring the bill.

“I have a hard time back home justifying a university who has millions of dollars in payroll in the president’s office, and then turns around and hires a search firm for several hundred thousand dollars, at the same time that they are laying off my constituents at the machine shed – carpenters and laborers who don’t make anywhere the six-figure salaries of those in the administration,” Rose said.

The president of the U of I is paid $650,000 per year. Rose complimented the U of I board of trustees for looking internally for Hogan’s successor.

Longtime administrator Robert Easter will serve for two years.

“There’s millions of dollars in payroll at the University of Illinois president’s office,” he said. “What are we paying them to do if it’s not to hire a chancellor?” Rose said contracting a search firm can cost more than a quarter of a million dollars, yet “at the same time, they’re laying off, frankly, my constituents at the machine shop.”

When questioned during debate, Rose said U of I athletic coaches and expenses are funded by ticket revenue and contributions, not tuition or public funds. The university’s athletic department has attracted attention by firing coaches from three sports and paying off more than $7 million worth of contracts in doing so.

Hogan resigned last week, about a month after 130 prominent faculty members from the main Urbana-Champaign campus wrote that they had “no confidence” in him, and that he “lacks the values commitments, management style, ethics and even manners needed to lead this university.”

HB 5914 passed the House by a vote of 91-9-4.