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Hamos, Flores secure in their jobs… For now

Tuesday, Apr 1, 2014

* As subscribers know, there’s lots more to this story beyond the public sturm und drang

Gov. Pat Quinn pulled an end run on state lawmakers to salvage the jobs of two Cabinet members and dodge a short-term showdown with African-American and Latino lawmakers whose support he needs to win re-election this fall.

The Democratic governor took the rare step of withdrawing — and then quickly renominating — Julie Hamos, director of the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, and Manny Flores, appointed to head the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. The move has the effect of hitting the reset button on what had been a deadline this week for the Illinois Senate to confirm the two aides.

Critics who had been poised to vote down the appointments are crying foul — Quinn nominated Hamos, a former lawmaker from Evanston and Flores, a former Chicago alderman, a year ago, but now both are poised to stay in their jobs until the governor’s term expires in January without ever facing an up-or-down vote.

The Illinois Constitution says nominees must be voted up-or-down within 60 legislative session days — as opposed to calendar days — of the governor’s recommendation to the Senate or their nominations take effect automatically.

* More

Hamos, a former state lawmaker who has served as agency chief since 2010, has been in the legislative crosshairs for more than a year, primarily because of she has been in charge of implementing an overhaul of Medicaid that was supposed to cut $2.7 billion from the health care program for poor people.

Last year, members of the Senate’s African-American and Latino caucuses sent a letter to Quinn urging him to replace Hamos, saying she’s made spending cuts a higher priority than helping low-income and disabled Illinoisans.

By contrast, Republicans have contended she is not moving fast enough to implement the savings.

In a statement issued Monday, the governor’s office didn’t address the reasons for the maneuver.

“The governor strongly supports the director,” Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson said.

* From the Senate Republicans

As Republican Spokesman for the Senate Executive Appointments Committee, Senator Bivins said his concerns are not about the particular appointees, but more about the integrity of the executive appointment process. The 45th District Senator is filing an amendment to his Senate Bill 2683 that will close this loophole by prevent the 60 legislative session days “clock” from restarting by simply withdrawing an appointee and reappointing them.

All gubernatorial appointments have to be submitted to the Senate Executive Appointments Committee, which then sends its recommendations to the full Senate for approval.

The two directors up for reappointment are Julie Hamos, Director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, and Manuel Flores, Secretary of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

Senator Bivins also questioned the Senate Majority’s sincerity in protecting the integrity of the process. In his letter to the Senate President withdrawing the two directors’ appointments, Governor Quinn specifically indicates the withdrawal came at the Senate President’s request.

“Keep in mind that on the day before the primary election, a meeting of the Executive Appointments Committee was called because of concerns about the pending deadline; however, neither Secretary Flores nor Director Hamos were on the list of names to be appointed,” Senator Bivins said. “But suddenly, the Governor circumvents the process and pulls a Friday stunt like this.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        


20 Comments
  1. - Steve - Tuesday, Apr 1, 14 @ 10:43 am:

    Constitutions are for little people. The ends always justifies the means for tyrants like Pat Quinn. Who could forget that Quinn decided that state legislature couldn’t get paid until he got what he wanted on pensions? Pat Quinn is a fanatic , a dangerous zealot who has little respect for the rule of law.


  2. - PublicServant - Tuesday, Apr 1, 14 @ 10:45 am:

    Oh but the other guy does, huh, Steve?


  3. - Steve - Tuesday, Apr 1, 14 @ 10:49 am:

    I’m not defending any other politicians here. Pat Quinn has no right to violate the Illinois state constitution.


  4. - Norseman - Tuesday, Apr 1, 14 @ 10:50 am:

    So much for Quinn’s integrity. Of course, that has taken quite a hit in the last few years.

    The Senate can deal with this slimy move by quickly rejecting the nominations. They can then pass Bivens proposal to prevent future games.

    Their other action would be to take costly legal action.


  5. - fed up - Tuesday, Apr 1, 14 @ 10:52 am:

    Pinnochio Pat Quinn rules, laws, and the truth dont matter. Lie about taxes, lie about the death penalty, break the law on legislatures pay, no big deal.


  6. - Norseman - Tuesday, Apr 1, 14 @ 10:52 am:

    Well said Public!

    P.S. This isn’t a constitutional argument. The issue is a law passed by the General Assembly to tighten up the process.


  7. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Apr 1, 14 @ 10:52 am:

    ===Pat Quinn has no right to violate the Illinois state constitution. ===

    How was it violated? Even the Republicans say it was a legal loophole.


  8. - fed up - Tuesday, Apr 1, 14 @ 10:58 am:

    ===Pat Quinn has no right to violate the Illinois state constitution. ===

    Well, you mean besides the balanced budget part of the constitution that is violated every year.


  9. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Apr 1, 14 @ 11:10 am:

    Meh, going after cabinet members is political on any level. You can’t stick it to the elected executive so you turn up the heat on the help.

    I have no problem with using the loophole.


  10. - Cassandra - Tuesday, Apr 1, 14 @ 11:45 am:

    Quinn very strongly supported Arthur Bishop, his DCFS appointee, too, but the next week Bishop was gone. We’ll see.

    Actually, doesn’t it make sense to have these two serve until the end of the year and then let Quinn or Rauner decide. And who worth having would take the job between now and the election.


  11. - phocion - Tuesday, Apr 1, 14 @ 11:54 am:

    Agree with WS. No big deal. They’re going after Hamos because she’s following the law. And they’re going after Flores for purely political payback. Give Quinn credit for sticking with his people.


  12. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Apr 1, 14 @ 12:23 pm:

    Phocion:

    Welcome to the Executive Appointments process.

    All appointees are political by definition, and whether you consider it payback, patronage or the more neutral “accountability”, it is part of the game.

    Senators should be a bit more forward thinking, and will close the loophole I suspect. Unless they want future governors utilizing the same move, which basically makes the process pointless.


  13. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Apr 1, 14 @ 1:17 pm:

    ==Pat Quinn is a fanatic , a dangerous zealot who has little respect for the rule of law.==

    Oh please. Any more hyperbole you want to throw out there?

    No laws were violated here. You don’t have to like it, but cut the crap with the lawbreaking stuff. It’s getting really old.


  14. - Skeptic - Tuesday, Apr 1, 14 @ 2:57 pm:

    Now if he were running the State like a business, he’d get the most qualified people in there and not just “Yes Men” who …. oh wait….


  15. - Irish - Tuesday, Apr 1, 14 @ 3:00 pm:

    Evidently PQ doesn’t mind giving Bruce more ammunition. He must be really confident.


  16. - Walker - Tuesday, Apr 1, 14 @ 3:04 pm:

    Hamos is attacked by Dems for being too aggressive in saving money, and by Republicans for not saving enough.

    Typical.

    She is doing a superb job, given the state’s real challenges.

    @Skeptic: He’s got “the most qualified people in there” in this case, and the political types don’t like it. You should be praising Quinn for sticking with this hire.


  17. - Skeptic - Tuesday, Apr 1, 14 @ 3:08 pm:

    @Walker: Actually that was more a jab at Rauner.


  18. - Walker - Tuesday, Apr 1, 14 @ 3:23 pm:

    @Skeptic:’

    “Oh Wait.”

    Sorry I missed it.


  19. - Norseman - Tuesday, Apr 1, 14 @ 4:10 pm:

    Oops, got the temp/acting director law mixed up with this issue. So this is a constitutional issue, but not a violation thereof as noted by Rich.


  20. - Publius - Tuesday, Apr 1, 14 @ 4:18 pm:

    As Director of Public Aid under Edgar i dealt with this everyday…half the people think you are spending too much, and the other half think you aren’t spending enough.

    Medicaid is the lightning that ultimately illuminates all discussion of government spending and the director is just the poor schlub holding theumbrella when it strikes.


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