SPRINGFIELD -- Pay him. That’s the gist of a letter Gov. Pat Quinn’s top lawyer sent state Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka Wednesday regarding Illinois State Police acting director Jonathon Monken.
SPRINGFIELD -- Pay him.
That’s the gist of a letter Gov. Pat Quinn’s top lawyer sent state Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka Wednesday regarding Illinois State Police acting director Jonathon Monken.
An intra-party squabble has developed between Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, and Quinn, a fellow Democrat, over whether unconfirmed appointees Quinn named during the 96th General Assembly can stay in their jobs now that the 97th General Assembly has been seated.
Cullerton’s chief legislative counsel, Eric Madiar, sent a letter to Topinka earlier this week saying that 38 appointments, including Monken’s, have expired and that she no longer needs to pay the people who hold those offices.
Quinn’s acting general counsel, John Schomberg, says he interprets the Illinois Constitution as saying that appointments carry over from one legislative session to the next.
But Schomberg said he wants to take Topinka “out of the middle of this issue,” so Quinn is temporarily appointing Monken and acting corrections director Gladyse Taylor to their jobs so they can continue to be paid. Taylor had not been confirmed as an assistant director before Quinn named her to lead the agency in September, replacing embattled former corrections chief Michael Randle.
Seeks Madigan opinion
Meanwhile, Attorney General Lisa Madigan should weigh in, Schomberg wrote. The fate of other part-time, paid and unpaid appointments will be determined after the attorney general’s office issues an opinion in the matter, he said.
The Illinois Constitution gives the Senate 60 session days to approve or reject nominees made by the governor. If the Senate doesn’t take action within that period of time, the appointee automatically takes office.
Madiar believes that if a particular session ends before the 60 session days have elapsed, the nomination is dead, just like all unapproved legislation from that session. Schomberg says the clock keeps ticking.
“… Senate inaction on a gubernatorial appointment can only result in confirmation by inaction, not in a nullity that would require removal of paid appointees from your payroll,” Schomberg wrote in his letter to Topinka. “Therefore, our position is that all of these appointees remain in place and retain their duties, powers and salary.”
In Urbana on Thursday, Quinn criticized the Senate for not voting on the nominees. He also defended Monken, an Iraq war veteran who had no police experience when he was nominated by Quinn to head the state police in March 2009.
“They’ve been sitting on this for a long time,” Quinn said, adding he thinks the controversy is overblown. “He’s (Monken) a good man. He’s a real leader. I have a great deal of confidence in Jon Monken.”
Sen. Antonio Munoz, D-Chicago, who chairs the Senate committee that reviews gubernatorial appointments, said the Senate OK’d dozens of Quinn appointees during its fall veto session and January lame-duck session.
Governor reviewing personnel
Monken didn’t get a vote partially because Quinn said at one point after his re-election that he was going to ask for the resignations of his cabinet and decide who should stay and who should go, Munoz said.
“The governor has the option to reappoint them,” Munoz said.
Quinn continues to review who will be on board for the term that started on Jan. 10, according to his office.
“This is part of the ongoing transition as Governor Quinn starts his term in office,” said Quinn spokeswoman Annie Thompson.
Munoz said committee members continue to be concerned about Monken’s qualifications. He noted that a law enforcement officer receives 400 hours of training, including weapons training and training on state law.
“What we wanted to do was give him the benefit of the doubt, see how he was going to do,” Munoz said. “He said, ‘I’m going to take some classes.’ You can’t just come on the job without having any training.
“He’s a great guy, but the committee has some concerns. I’m there for veterans, 100 percent. But even though he’s a combat veteran, he had no law enforcement background.”
Chris Wetterich can be reached at (217) 788-1523. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Officials temporarily appointed by Gov. Pat Quinn on Wednesday. They can serve until at least until Feb. 2, when the Senate returns to Springfield.
Name Title Salary
Jonathon Monken Illinois State Police director $132,566
Manny Flores Illinois Commerce Commission Chairman $134,022
John Colgan Illinois Commerce Commission member $117,043
Matthew Hammoudeh Assistant secretary of human services $127,739
Gladyse Taylor Acting director of corrections $112,840