February 2, 2015

Dear Colleagues:

Since being sworn into office Jan. 12, Gov. Bruce Rauner has issued a series of executive orders and some of them affect public universities and their employees. Executive Orders 15-08 and 15-09, as well as the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget (GOMB) Guidelines for Compliance with EO-08, are the three actions with perhaps the greatest significance to the University of Illinois.

The executive orders and guidelines make changes in how state entities — including public universities — must operate and be accountable. Effective until the end of fiscal 2015 (June 30), E.O. 15-08 freezes discretionary spending and requires GOMB approval of certain contracts and expenditures using state-appropriated funds. E.O. 15-09 sets higher ethics and gift-ban standards, while also providing for GOMB pre-approval of “any employment contract.”

The university intends to fully comply with the orders and has already provided GOMB with initial reports in response. Representatives of the university have been in discussions with the Governor’s Office and GOMB to ensure that compliance with the executive orders does not hinder the university’s important missions in teaching, research, public service, and economic development. Some interpretive questions remain, and we are working with the Governor’s Office and GOMB to develop additional guidance with respect to compliance and implementation.

For now, in light of the state’s current fiscal challenges, I expect everyone to follow the intent of the executive orders as issued. Deans and department heads should refrain from filling positions that are not mission critical and be frugal with travel and other expenses, relying on common sense solutions such as videoconferencing or using fleet rather than personal vehicles.

Again, we are still in the process of developing a full understanding of the executive orders and their impacts and will keep you apprised of further developments.

Sincerely,

Robert A. Easter
President