Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Appointment process under fire

By Jamey Dunn

UPDATE February 10, 2011: Senate Bill 1 passed in the Senate this morning. Executive appointees who have overstayed their appointed terms may soon find themselves booted from their positions.

Senate Bill 1, proposed by Senate President John Cullerton and Minority Leader Christine Radogno, was approved by a Senate committee today with unanimous support.

If the both chambers of the legislature approve the measure, all paid appointees who are serving beyond their terms and so-called acting appointees would be out of their jobs. Those who are not paid would lose their positions after 30 days. The governor could reappoint anyone he chooses.

Temporary appointments made while the legislature is in recess would only last until the next time the Senate is in session. The bill would also end the practice of allowing so-called acting appointees to serve for months without going through the formal confirmation process. Appointments made under the “acting” category would last only 30 days. After that, the governor would have to nominate the individual for the position, and he or she would have to be approved by the Senate to remain in the job.

Cullerton said the measure “mirrors the Constitution,” and he hopes to pass the bill through the legislature as soon as possible.

The Senate also changed its rules to require that executive appointments be numbered and entered into the General Assembly’s website, so they can be tracked in the same way as legislation.

A spokesperson for Gov. Pat Quinn said the governor "applauds" Cullerton for trying to make the executive appointment process more transparent.

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