By Jamey Dunn
After resigning in the midst of an ethics controversy during election season, Gov. Pat Quinn’s former chief of staff, Jerry Stermer, is once again working in the Quinn administration.
Stermer sent campaign-related e-mails from his state account. He reported the incidents to the Office of the Executive Inspector General.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported Inspector General James Wright was removed from his position the day Quinn was briefed on the report his office made on Stermer’s violations.
Quinn claimed his replacement of Wright, who was appointed by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, and the report were not connected. “Ricardo Meza was appointed by Governor Quinn to head the Office of the Executive Inspector General on August 15, 2010 after a lengthy search process, which began in the Summer of 2009. Ricardo Meza replaced an Inspector General appointed by the previous administration whose term expired in 2008. The replacement was not in response to this or any other specific OEIG report, and these events are in no way connected,” a statement from the governor’s office said.
Quinn said it was Stermer’s decision to leave and he had no plans to fire him. From statement from the governor’s office on Stermer’s return: “Jerry Stermer will serve as a senior advisor to Governor Quinn starting on Monday, November 29. He will advise Governor Quinn on a variety of subject areas where he has had a lifetime of experience, including human services, health care and the state budget. He will be a Governor’s Office employee and will be paid $125,000 annually.”