NIU Staff Taking On Additional Work Amid Investigations

Nov 27, 2012

Two high-profile investigations at Northern Illinois University are still playing out. The coffee-fund probe and allegations of misconduct at the campus police department have forced the school to place 10 current employees on administrative leave. So how has that affected operations?

Credit Susan Stephens / WNIJ

The coffee fund situation alone has resulted in one department trying to cover duties carried out by roughly twenty-percent of its staff. That department is Materials Management, which falls under the Facilities and Finance Division. Eight current employees within the division were placed on leave, after it was alleged that workers were selling university scrap metal and channeling the proceeds into a secret bank account. 

While those employees face criminal charges, the school is left scrambling to fill their shoes. Steve Cunningham is Vice President for administration and Human Resource services. He says they’ve asked a number of other materials management workers to pick up the slack. Employees from other departments are also helping out.

“It’s a very core level to maintain services and operations throughout the university. Whether its food, delivery of office supplies, mail, surplussing, all of this is continuing. There have been a few areas, such as collecting that we’ve slowed down a bit, but the campus community has been very understanding about that,” Cunningham said.

Over at the campus police department, two top officials have been pulled away from their duties, including Chief Don Grady.  But acting Chief Darren Mitchell says it’s business as usual.

“Nothing has been sacrificed. Nothing has been pushed to the side as it pertains to delivery of service,” Mitchell said.

And when you look at other situations, such as Materials Management, where some people are being pulled from other departments to help out, the university says those people are still able to maintain their existing roles.