* At a time when the governor is cutting the State Police, human services and schools, this has to rank as one of the goofier hires of all time…
A longtime advisor to Gov. Pat Quinn has been hired to be the state’s first canoe czar.
Claude Walker, who has served as an aide to Quinn dating back two decades, will coordinate kayaking and canoeing for the cash-strapped state Department of Natural Resources.
He will earn $85,000 annually.
The new job for the 57-year-old self-described kayaking enthusiast raised eyebrows among some lawmakers, who are in the midst of debating how to keep the state afloat during though budget times.
Claude is a great guy. But Quinn cannot claim on one hand that the state is broke and then pay somebody $85K to be a “canoe czar.”
*** UPDATE *** That didn’t last long. From a DNR spokesperson…
I wanted to reach out to you and let you know that the watertrails coordinator position has been recinded at the request of the Governor’s office today. The IDNR realizes that while watertrails are an important and growing aspect of outdoor recreation in Illinois, the timing was just not right in these tough fiscal times.