Ill. Senate president targets holdover appointees

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Illinois’ Senate president asked the governor Thursday to say who he wants serving in hundreds of government posts that are vacant or held by appointed officials whose terms have expired.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois’ Senate president asked the governor Thursday to say who he wants serving in hundreds of government posts that are vacant or held by appointed officials whose terms have expired.

People named to appointed posts need Senate confirmation, and Sen. John Cullerton said senators can’t fulfill that important role if the governor doesn’t name appointments.

The Chicago Democrat released a list of nearly 700 state jobs that are either vacant, including members of Gov. Pat Quinn’s Cabinet, or held by an incumbent whose term expired five, 10 or even dozens of years ago.

The list accompanied legislation Cullerton proposed that would remove people from appointive positions if they’re not reappointed within 30 days of the expiration of their terms.

"This is not in any way passing judgment on those serving in these positions," Cullerton said in a prepared statement. "Rather, it is an effort to return the important system of checks and balances in the Illinois Constitution."

Quinn’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Cullerton said most of the 690 jobs on the list are unpaid advisory posts. But more than 100 are policymaking positions.

They include Department of Children and Family Services Director Erwin McEwen, who makes $144,700, but whose term expired Jan. 19, 2009. That’s nine days before Quinn, a Democrat, took over as governor to replace impeached and ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Revenue Director Brian Hamer has been making $142,400 in a term that expired in January 2007. Former Congressman David Phelps is assistant secretary at the Department of Transportation and makes $128,000, though his term also expired in January 2007.

Three members of the Pollution Control Board, making more than $115,000 each, have been serving terms that expired as long ago as July 2006.

Several people in unpaid positions have been serving in positions where terms expired from 1999 to 2001. Some unpaid posts are filled by people whose terms expired in 1981.

The list includes 148 vacant posts, 471 where terms have expired or will by Dec. 31, and 71 which will expire in January.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

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