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Wild tales flourishing

Monday, Nov 24, 2014

* AP

Rauner said his “No. 1 priority” is hiring the most talented team possible. Former GOP Gov. Jim Edgar, a key member of Rauner’s transition team, told The Associated Press that selecting smart and experienced advisers is the “first and most important” task for any governor-elect. […]

With hundreds of Quinn administration hires and appointees eventually departing, jockeying already has begun to fill coveted posts under the new governor. Rauner said he hasn’t spoken with any GOP legislators about jobs in his administration, though that doesn’t mean some lawmakers won’t end up there.

* And that leads us to my weekly syndicated newspaper column

Whenever a new governor is about to be sworn in, one of the most popular Springfield parlor games is figuring out who is on their way out and who is on their way in.

(The games are usually not played in parlors, but in taverns, restaurants and friendly offices.)

Of course, when a new governor takes office from a different party, the “who is out” part is relatively easy. Pretty much everybody without civil service job protection is out.

And that’s where we find ourselves today. Governor-elect Bruce Rauner is a Republican who just defeated Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn. Almost all of Quinn’s people are surely gone.

But who will Rauner bring in to run the government? I cannot tell you how many times I’m asked that question every single day.

Much of the recent local speculation has focused on Republican state legislators, partly because most of the people closest to the outsider Rauner are unknown to the Springfield crowd. Legislators, on the other hand, are very well known. Some of those legislators are not so subtly floating their own names, some are just naturally assumed to be on a short list.

As a result, there are so many rumors going around about so many legislators being “sure thing” appointments that I long ago lost count. It seems at times the number could be half of the Republican caucus.

Some folks were actively spreading rumors for weeks that Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno was in line for an agency directorship, possibly to undercut her re-election bid as party leader. Nothing could have been further from the truth. She never wanted to move into the executive branch. As far as I know, nothing was ever offered.

Earlier this month, a potential 2016 House Republican candidate loaned his campaign fund $250,000 because he apparently wanted to set himself up for a campaign in the wake of widespread rumors that Rep. Patti Bellock, R-Hinsdale, would soon be heading up a state agency.

Rumors are rampant that Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford, is in line to run the Illinois Department of Insurance. Syverson added fuel to the fire by indicating his willingness to vote to raise the income tax again after it automatically rolls back from 5 percent to 3.75 percent at the end of this year.

Heck, I’ve even heard that two Downstate GOP legislators are actually fighting bitterly right now over who ought to be the next director of a major state agency.

Last week, Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner was finally asked by a reporter how many Republican lawmakers he’d spoken with about joining his administration.

“None,” Rauner replied.

While everybody and his brother are out there touting themselves or their pals as the next director of an agency or chairman of some state commission, absolutely nobody is a sure thing and Rauner hasn’t yet offered anybody anything.

“Everybody who voted for Bruce thinks they ought to be a director,” cracked one exasperated insider.

Keep in mind that Rod Blagojevich didn’t unveil his new agency directors until a few days after he was first sworn into office in 2003. I think it was late December before we first got word about George Ryan’s nominees.

Rauner could move faster than that. He did act very quickly to put a budget team in place, headed by the highly respected Senate Republican chief of staff Tim Nuding. Blagojevich didn’t announce his budget team until almost a month after the 2002 election.

Once the lists are pared down (and as of last week that process had barely begun), potential nominees will then have to be thoroughly vetted. The one thing Team Rauner doesn’t want is an unpleasant surprise during the confirmation process.

The Republicans have been out of power for a dozen years, so it’s understandable that they’re hungry to get back into the game. And they’re human beings, so like most people they’d like a promotion for themselves or their friends. I get it.

They should probably keep in mind that Rauner said over and over and over until he was blue in the face during the campaign that his top priority was to “shake up Springfield” and bring in new blood. Appointing a bunch of Republican legislators to key administration posts wouldn’t exactly reinforce that message.

Everybody just needs to calm down.

* Kurt Erickson

It seems like nearly every one of the state Senate’s 19 Republicans has been mentioned as a potential head of some agency.

One scenario had Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, R-Lemont, going to work for Rauner. Another wild tale had state Sen. Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon, heading to the administration. State Sen. Dave Luechtefeld, R-Okawville, would then run for McCarter’s seat, paving the way for unsuccessful attorney general candidate Paul Schrimpf of Waterloo to run for Luechtefeld’s seat.

Got all that?

* Finke

So maybe it’s true that the names floating around about possible appointments are coming from the lawmakers themselves.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Toure's Latte - Monday, Nov 24, 14 @ 9:38 am:

    ==a potential 2016 House Republican candidate loaned his campaign fund $250,000==

    Whoa. that’s some serious coin for a House District. If they want to scare off other prospects, that’s a good way to do it.

  2. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Nov 24, 14 @ 9:46 am:

    I’d love to see some county-by-county analysis comparing Rauner’s numbers to Brady’s as we discuss which State Senator is being appointed to what post.

    Politically, this chatter is really troublesome for Rauner.

    He presumably will need a bunch of these senators to vote for a budget that includes additional revenue.

    Giving them state jobs after a tax vote would be explosive.

    Appointing someone who then votes to raise taxes would barely be better.

    Senators who actually want a job would do best to pipe down and give the Governor-elect some breathing room.

    Not helpful.

  3. - Ginhouse Tommy - Monday, Nov 24, 14 @ 9:48 am:

    If any of Rich’s column is true, it’s just, as the saying goes, the same old wine in a brand new bottle. As far as who gets appointed to what, we’ll just have to see how it plays out.

  4. - Stones - Monday, Nov 24, 14 @ 9:49 am:

    Has there been any realistic talk about a potential buy out offer for civil service employees?

  5. - Jay Cutler's mustache - Monday, Nov 24, 14 @ 9:50 am:

    How exactly would the Coach-to-McCarter switch work? GA members have a one-year out residency requirement and we’re outside the remap exception…

  6. - OneMan - Monday, Nov 24, 14 @ 9:50 am:

    OneMan is still available….

  7. - Anon - Monday, Nov 24, 14 @ 9:51 am:

    As long as Madigan and the Dems have veto proof majorities, does it really make any difference whom Rauner appoints?

  8. - Wordslinger - Monday, Nov 24, 14 @ 9:51 am:

    Can’t see how you shake up Springfield by appointing a bunch of old legislators.

    If I recall, Rauner talked at times during the campaign on bringing in the best and brightest from the private sector.

  9. - Capitol View - Monday, Nov 24, 14 @ 9:55 am:

    even if new faces are the policy woks, the new Guv needs an experienced had as his legislative director. Tom Cross would be perfect.

  10. - Cassandra - Monday, Nov 24, 14 @ 9:57 am:

    At least maybe Rauner the finance guy will bring in fewer appointees, old or new, than Quinn/Blago did. In patronage-heavy Illinois state government, that may be all we tax-weary citizens can hope for, and only because of the severe budget problems upcoming. Well-compensated state jobs are part of any governor’s operating currency, after all, as well as plump state contracts. Rauner will have to play, to some extent, whatever he says.

  11. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Nov 24, 14 @ 9:59 am:

    Maybe we’ll find out finally which 1/3 of the GOP GA is corrupt(?)

    They won. It’s their Shop. Governing is difficult.

  12. - Rich Miller - Monday, Nov 24, 14 @ 10:01 am:

    Anon, if you’re that ignorant about governance, perhaps you shouldn’t be commenting here.

  13. - Anonymous - Monday, Nov 24, 14 @ 10:01 am:

    From a Vatican prelate ” those who say they know don’t, and those who say they don’t do”. Or if you get caught asking and trying for it , expect not to get it.

  14. - Anonymous - Monday, Nov 24, 14 @ 10:07 am:

    How many repub legislators really went all out for Rauner? Even the leaders’ endorsements seemed perfunctory. As a group he owes them zip in terms of top jobs.

    Xlnt pick w nuding

  15. - Gator - Monday, Nov 24, 14 @ 10:08 am:

    I hope they bring back Bill Black. I miss listening to him.

  16. - Rich Miller - Monday, Nov 24, 14 @ 10:10 am:

    ===GA members have a one-year out residency requirement ===

    Yep, but he can still serve, he just can’t run for another term in that district. I’m not sure if he’s moved or not.

  17. - flea - Monday, Nov 24, 14 @ 10:17 am:

    Rich Brauer for Ag Director!

  18. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Nov 24, 14 @ 10:20 am:

    To the Post,

    It’s been 12 years, many Republicans told all of us here and everywhere that is enough of Democratic control of the mansion.

    Here’s the rub;

    Government to function needs “superstars” that understand…government.

    I hope those in My Party reap rewards, those who supported Rauner deserve their chances.

    To bring in an all outside team is ignorant to the task at hand.

    Mike Z’s challenge will be to balance those new to government with old hands on governing, to the raw political animals needed to mesh the political and the governmental.

    Z already knows this, which is why he was a great choice.

    Will Bruce let Z do the task at hand, the building? I hope so.

    Actually, it will be fun to see who goes where and why, avid the meshing, and the LLs and Press Shop.

  19. - Analyst - Monday, Nov 24, 14 @ 10:42 am:

    Spoils? I recall BR indicating that Republicans looking for such rewards cannot expect that to happen. BR must also consider the serious matter of governing, which cannot be accomplished with newbies who have no idea about managing large public agencies — especially if too many of the experienced workers are either forced out, moved to positions for which they are not qualified or become overloaded by workforce reductions, or simply retire.

  20. - Norseman - Monday, Nov 24, 14 @ 10:52 am:

    What we may be seeing is a bunch of GOP solons who want to get out so they don’t have to carry or vote for Rauner proposals.

  21. - VanillaMan - Monday, Nov 24, 14 @ 10:55 am:

    Sounds like we’ve got a lot of tired IL GOP legislators who were hoping for their party to win something besides the governor office and want out now that the votes are counted. Twelve years of being second stringers instead of respected leaders will do that. Hence the self promotion. In other states a dozen years at legislation opens door. Not for IL GOP.

    You can’t shake a state without shakers and it ought to be clear that IL GOP legislators don’t see how that promotes them. Rauner wasn’t there during these Madigan years but he leap frogged them and there are a few feeling depressed over their own political legacy watching him get all the attention.

    Bruce needs a complete GOP revival. Not just for his own hopes and dreams, but to breathe life into a party with more than a few depressed zombies.

    IL GOP is not ready for January. The new guys are going to get taken to school by the Democrats. These new guys need to come into Springfield humbly or they will not find a friend. This isn’t just any transition because the State is broke and getting broker, the new governor doesn’t know government, and his party seems to want to be elsewhere. Expect a tough 2015 for all.

  22. - Sir Reel - Monday, Nov 24, 14 @ 10:57 am:

    Agency directors are just one piece of the puzzle. Finding qualified people for other executive positions is harder now after Blago’s abuses. No one covered by contract will risk an unprotected job. But these experienced people are exactly what’s needed.

  23. - A guy... - Monday, Nov 24, 14 @ 10:59 am:

    I went all out in my little corner of the world. I have not been contacted. I have not made any contact. I don’t wish for a job. I’m far from the big people’s table.

    Just thought I’d put everyone’s mind at ease.

  24. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Nov 24, 14 @ 11:00 am:

    ===What we may be seeing is a bunch of GOP solons who want to get out so they don’t have to carry or vote for Rauner proposals.===

    I, too, thought about that. However, crying in committee hearings for funding for the Rauner Administration is a tough way to seem anti tax

  25. - Loop Lady - Monday, Nov 24, 14 @ 11:06 am:

    I’ve see plenty of old timer GOPS @ JRTC since the election, and their blood certainly has been circulating for a while…Rauner can replace all the Fenwick newbies that Quinn hired with young folks from the Wilmette and Lake Forest young GOP Club…

  26. - Original Rambler - Monday, Nov 24, 14 @ 11:11 am:

    If some of these longer term GOP legislators get appointed to 6 figure+ administration jobs, won’t that result in significant pension boosts for the most part?

  27. - Dan from Dundee - Monday, Nov 24, 14 @ 11:23 am:

    The name not mentioned but one that has collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in transportation campaign contributions is Senator McConnaughay from Kane County? What job might she be interested in?

  28. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Nov 24, 14 @ 11:24 am:

    - VanillaMan -,

    Rauner is “light blue”, remember? Rauner isn’t Republican, you told me, after you told me he was a Republican.

    Pick. A. Lane.

    I’m so glad you can see how this all goes..,

  29. - Bill White - Monday, Nov 24, 14 @ 11:38 am:

    @Jay Cutler’s Mustache

    There appears to be a TWO YEAR residency requirement to serve in the General Assembly (whether elected or appointed) - unless Google gave me a bad copy of the IL Constitution:

    == (c) To be eligible to serve as a member of the General Assembly, a person must be a United States citizen, at least 21 years old, and for the two years preceding his election or appointment a resident of the district which he is to represent. ==

  30. - VanillaMan - Monday, Nov 24, 14 @ 11:38 am:

    Am I suppose to feed you today?

    After the dozens of crows you’ve eaten this month I suppose you’re getting tired of the taste, eh? Evelyn told me that she still has another 439 in her freezer you left with her.

    I told her not to feed the trolls, but she feels sorry for you.

  31. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Nov 24, 14 @ 11:50 am:

    - VanillaMan -,

    You are the only person I know that contradicts himself with every other Post, lol.

    Next thing you’ll tell me is that Rauner is a conservative, and I need to back Rauner for his conservative views.


  32. - MOD - Monday, Nov 24, 14 @ 11:59 am:

    An important consideration for appointments also has to do with the governor-elect’s legislative agenda. Senate confirmations are required for cabinet positions and no matter how much prep work is done in advance of naming someone, there will undoubtedly be several appointments requiring “cashing in chips” to get them through. This begs the question: are those chips better used on larger legislative issues in the short term and holding off on many of those appointments until spring session is over and there are fewer competing demands? Change for the sake of change in agencies could burn too much political currency in the senate, and that would not be the first time that mistake has been made.

  33. - Anonymous - Monday, Nov 24, 14 @ 12:08 pm:

    Which job certain people get is very simple. What Senators backed Rauner from the start? Who are they and where are they from should tell a lot.

  34. - Western Ave. Doug - Monday, Nov 24, 14 @ 12:49 pm:

    -Vanilla Man-

    Evelyn has made empanadas stuffed with crow meat just for Willy.

  35. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Nov 24, 14 @ 1:09 pm:

    - Western Ave. Doug -,

    Are you guys saying a woman’s place is in the kitchen and not governing?

    That’s a shame you and - VanillaMan - feel that way.

  36. - Western Ave. Doug - Monday, Nov 24, 14 @ 1:45 pm:

    Mr Willy
    Are you saying that we have declared a “war on women”? Oh my… Just when I was starting to like you again.

  37. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Nov 24, 14 @ 1:51 pm:

    - Western Ave. Doug -,

    I wouldn’t worry, you would’ve gone back to not liking me soon enough.

    To the Post,

    ===…Rauner said over and over and over until he was blue in the face during the campaign that his top priority was to “shake up Springfield” and bring in new blood. Appointing a bunch of Republican legislators to key administration posts wouldn’t exactly reinforce that message.===

    There will be legislators somewhere in there, but right out of the box might be just too much optically & too soon right this moment.

    What did Aaron Rodgers say?


  38. - Not OW - Monday, Nov 24, 14 @ 2:06 pm:

    I wouldn’t be shocked if he didn’t appoint a single legislator to head a department.

  39. - Langhorne - Monday, Nov 24, 14 @ 3:42 pm:

    Anon 10:07a was langhorne

  40. - A guy... - Monday, Nov 24, 14 @ 5:38 pm:

    ===Langhorne - Monday, Nov 24, 14 @ 3:42 pm:

    Anon 10:07a was langhorne===

    Hope you’re not just taking credit for a thoughtful and good post. :) lol.

  41. - Gantt Chart - Monday, Nov 24, 14 @ 6:16 pm:

    Schnorf for Director of CMS! 😃

  42. - Anonymous - Monday, Nov 24, 14 @ 6:52 pm:

    William Kelly just applied for any spots now that he has some ftee time

  43. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Nov 24, 14 @ 7:31 pm:

    If “Canoe Czar” opens up I have a well qualified nominee.

  44. - Former Merit Comp Slave - Monday, Nov 24, 14 @ 11:11 pm:

    I second the motion for Schnorf for CMS! And someone for state police who actually came up the ranks please.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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