Guagliardo named NIU ethics officer

Former prosecutor, special counsel brings “unique perspective” to important role

Jim Guagliardo

Jim Guagliardo

Northern Illinois University today announced that James G. Guagliardo has been appointed as university ethics officer, effective March 15, 2013. The position, while a part of the university’s compliance administration function, reports directly to the president.

“Jim has done an excellent job in his role as special counsel here,” said NIU President John G. Peters. “His experience in administrative, employment and labor law make him a logical and natural choice. He has my strong support in his new position as ethics officer.”

The ethics officer is the university’s liaison to the Illinois Executive Inspector General regarding matters for which the Inspector General is charged with investigation and enforcement. The ethics officer provides information regarding state employees’ responsibilities regarding statutorily mandated behaviors and responds to requests for directions and information to administrators and employees when they are unsure of their responsibilities regarding existing or anticipated actions.

“Besides his familiarity with NIU as a graduate, Jim brings a unique perspective to this post as a former special counsel, attorney, arbiter, investigator and prosecutor,” said Vice President and General Counsel Jerry Blakemore, who along with Steven Cunningham oversees the Office of Compliance Administration. “All of these skills are essential in performing this role.”

Cunningham, who until Friday serves as University Ethics Officer, will maintain related investigation, training, records and procurement functions in his larger role in compliance administration. He cites ethics as a fundamental principle of operation.

“Ethical conduct is fundamental to day-to-day university operations,” Cunningham added. “Guagliardo’s experience in federal and state employment, personnel and legal matters make him ideally suited for this position. The role of ethics officer requires a great deal of case-by-case analysis, advice, problem-solving skills, and Jim’s role as an arbiter, conducting hearings and rendering opinions will prove invaluable in the role of ethics officer.”

Guagliardo, who has served as a special counsel at NIU since October, was an attorney with the Kane County Sheriff’s Merit Commission from 2007 until February 2013. While there, he worked in civil rights and employment law, advising the commission on all legal issues pertaining to disciplinary hearings, legal issues pertaining to certification and hiring of sheriff’s personnel, and amendments to commission rules and regulations.

For two years, Guagliardo served as an arbitrator in Kane and DuPage Counties, hearing cases that involved commercial lease disputes, personal injury, and property damage.

For seven years he served as assistant state’s attorney in Kane County from 1993-2000, spending a year as special prosecutor there in 2001-2 and also as a special assistant United States attorney in 1998.

A former member of the Kane County Bar Association, Guagliardo is a member of the Winnebago County Bar Association and now the DeKalb County Bar Association.

Guagliardo graduated Summa Cum Laude in Political Science from NIU in 1986 before attending Northwestern University Law School, where he graduated Cum Laude.

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