* The Chicago Tribune editorial board is all-in for Gov. Pat Quinn’s choice to run the Illinois State Police. They’ve run an editorial that literally oozes hostility towards the young man’s detractors…
Last weekend, Gov. Pat Quinn chose 29-year-old Army combat veteran Jonathon Monken to head the Illinois State Police. The selection of a young man with no conventional policing experience provoked anonymous online complaints (evidently from veteran troopers) and on-the-record harrumphing from state senators who’ll decide whether to confirm the appointment.
It was more than just anonymous online complaining, as I told you last week, but whatever.
* The paper apparently sat down with Monken and came away impressed…
Quinn isn’t backing down. And, after hearing Monken handle probing questions about his qualifications during a Friday meeting with the Tribune editorial board, we understand why. We urge the Senate to thoroughly vet Monken and—barring some unexpected surprise—to confirm him. If the choice of Monken upsets some troopers or legislators, tough. They aren’t answerable for Monken’s performance of his duties. Quinn is.
Tough? Wow. And is there no awareness of the constitutional principle of “advise and consent”? Senators are, indeed, “answerable” for Monken’s performance because they will have to vote to confirm him.
This page often has argued that chief executives are entitled to have their own appointees in such sensitive posts, provided the appointees aren’t kooks or crooks.
Ha! Wrong. Remember how the Tribune flatly and loudly opposed Marty Cohen’s nomination to chair the Illinois Commerce Commission? Here’s a little taste…
State Sen. Rickey Hendon has a message for Gov. Rod Blagojevich: Yank your controversial nomination of consumer watchdog Martin Cohen to chair the Illinois Commerce Commission or risk an embarrassing defeat in the Senate.
Blunt advice like that is a rare commodity in Springfield, especially when it comes from a key member of the governor’s own party. And in this case, it’s good advice.
Cohen was neither a “kook” nor a “crook,” but that didn’t stop the Trib from blasting the guy.
But the criticism of Monken’s résumé strikes us as exaggerated: The director’s job is to administer and inspire a big agency—less to make urgent decisions about an unfolding emergency than to have on the ground the best ISP rank officers to make those decisions. Monken wears a business suit rather than the state police uniform that he respects as symbolic of what troopers have struggled and sacrificed to earn.
State Police troopers undergo a rigorous vetting and training program and have to prove that they’re still up to the task on a regular basis. They are some of the best trained cops in the bidness, and rightfully proud of that uniform. That also understandably leads them to distrust outsiders brought in to run the show. But it’s also a cop thing. Just look at how the Chicago coppers have reacted so negatively to Mayor Daley’s pick of a former FBI guy to run that shop.
There are exaggerations on both sides. Unfortunately, the Tribune decided to exaggerate on behalf of the governor’s ISP pick instead of taking a reasonable approach to the subject. This is fast becoming the MO at that paper, and it’s a very disturbing development.
* Quinn defends state police director pick
* New State Police chief says he’s up to challenge : “God willing, I will never face as dire a security situation as I did in Kosovo or Iraq,” Monken said. “Frankly, I have leadership experience in security and police operations as challenging as anywhere on the planet.”
* Illinois police lab delays hamper cases, report says
* Quinn may remove Box from Illinois Commerce Commission