The top aide to a former University of Illinois president will follow him out the door.
Lisa Troyer, the former chief of staff to ousted University of Illinois President Michael Hogan and the suspected author of the anonymous emails that helped seal her boss's doom, is leaving the UI.
It's good that she's going. It's good that all the wrangling that would have been associated with her staying has been avoided. Nonetheless, it's disappointing to see another top-ranking official who fouled her own nest walk away with so much taxpayer money.
Troyer will receive $175,000, nearly a year's pay under her original university contract, in exchange for dropping whatever legal claims she had against the UI.
It raises, once again, the question: what is the price of failure for esteemed and powerful people who let everyone down?
The obvious answer is that there is no price for failure beyond some personal embarrassment. Troyer can't be happy with her UI experience, but a check for $175,000 will go a long way to smooth her ruffled feathers.
Under the terms of her UI severance agreement, negotiated by Chicago lawyers who will, no doubt, submit an outrageous bill, Troyer will remain on the UI faculty at a salary in excess of $100,000 a year until Aug. 15. So she'll actually profit even more than the $175,000.
Professional misconduct apparently can be a gift that just keeps on giving.
Most people had never heard of Troyer until January when she, in a decision so futile and so foolish as to defy understanding, apparently concocted a scheme to influence a university committee studying admissions issues by sending anonymous emails to committee members.
It took about five minutes for UI officials to figure out the emails came from Troyer's computer. But it set off a weeks-long investigation by pricey law and forensic accounting firms that concluded Troyer's computer, which was in Troyer's possession, was the source of the emails. The controversy spread from there into faculty complaints about Hogan's relationship with the UI faculty members, a conflagration that raged until Hogan announced that he would step down.
Troyer denied all knowledge of the emails then and denies all now.
"I have always stated that I never sent any anonymous emails, and the investigation report never concluded that I did," Troyer recently stated.
That statement is a classic half-truth that will do Troyer's already flagging reputation for veracity no good at all.
Her role in the anonymous emails issue, however, cost Troyer her job as Hogan's chief of staff, although the former UI president deceitfully allowed her to continue to carry on some duties on his behalf after he stated she had been removed.
People around here, of course, know all the gory details and are pretty much sick of hearing about them. They prefer to move forward under the leadership of new UI President Robert Easter, a UI lifer who already has done much to restore a sense of calm and confidence on campus.
But putting the controversy to bed required settling the Troyer issue, a move that pre-empted a faculty inquiry into her ethical fitness to hold a faculty position. There really was nothing to be gained by mucking around in that mess, but cleaning out the Augean stable comes at a high price.