*** UPDATE *** Sunny Fischer, the chair of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency Board of Trustees, has released a statement on this issue, claiming that her board was blindsided by the Madigan bill. Click here to read it.
[ *** End Of Update *** ]
A move by House Speaker Michael Madigan to wrest control of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum from a state agency moved out of the House Tuesday despite qualms that his framework seemed “drastic.” […]
The quick emergence of Lincoln library and museum bill has triggered murmurs at the Capitol, even from some Democrats, who question privately whether Madigan is engaged in a power grab that has the potential to become, what one high-ranking party aide described as “Metra times two.”
Madigan, who hasn’t been to the library and museum in two years, has said he began contemplating the power shift four or five months ago and that one of the problems with the current management setup is that numerous job vacancies have gone unfilled at the library and museum.
* Sun-Times editorial…
The $115 million Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is being undermined by greed and selfish ambition.
Actually, that’s what we wrote 13 years ago, when then-Gov. George Ryan tried to end the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency’s authority over the Lincoln center so he could, in the words of Sun-Times columnist Steve Neal, turn the center into a “patronage dump.”
Now, House Speaker Michael Madigan is trying to do the same thing — end the IHPA’s authority over the Lincoln center. And the sneaky way he’s going about it — producing a bill at the last moment in a busy legislative session, pushing it through a committee on Memorial Day and ramming it through the House the next day — is offensive. Last we heard, the Legislature has bigger problems to grapple with, like a potentially devastating unbalanced budget.
* But check out the roll call. The bill passed 84-29. By my count, 21 Republicans, including House GOP Leader Jim Durkin, voted for Madigan’s bill.
So, maybe Madigan cut a deal with Durkin on something else. I dunno. But there was clearly bipartisan support for this move.
* However, the Sun-Times is most definitely right about this…
If Madigan feels there’s a better way to run the Lincoln center, he should follow the normal legislative process, getting the input of everyone from Lincoln scholars to museum experts. Rushing things through invites unforeseen consequences.
I totally agree. The library/museum is a state gem. Changes should only be made after careful deliberations, with lots of input from outside experts.