Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn can fill the vacancy created by Topinka’s death. But Quinn leaves office in a month, and Republican Bruce Rauner will take over as governor. The question: Would a Quinn appointee serve as comptroller only until Jan. 12, when a new term begins and Rauner would get to choose a comptroller, or would Quinn’s selection get to serve the new term as well?
The state constitution speaks to the succession for comptroller in a couple of places. The succession clause states that “the appointee shall hold office until the elected officer qualifies or until a successor is elected and qualified.”
But another section limits the terms of statewide officeholders to four years “until their successors are qualified.” […]
Ann Lousin, an expert on the state constitution at Chicago’s John Marshall Law School, said neither the charter nor state law lays out a clear contingency for replacing Topinka so close to the start of her next term.
“The scenario that would be the least likely to lead to litigation would be for Quinn to appoint someone to serve just to Jan. 12, or even just let Topinka’s deputy fill the post until then, and then let Rauner appoint somebody for four years on Jan. 12,” Lousin said.
* The Constitution…
If the Attorney General, Secretary of State, Comptroller or Treasurer fails to qualify or if his office becomes vacant, the Governor shall fill the office by appointment. The appointee shall hold office until the elected officer qualifies or until a successor is elected and qualified as may be provided by law and shall not be subject to removal by the Governor.
* The difference of opinion here is whether there is one vacancy (JBT’s death) or two (JBT’s death and inauguration day). One vacancy means Quinn’s appointment would serve until January of 2019, two vacancies would mean Rauner would appoint a new comptroller next month.
We’ve had lots of discussions about this issue, so let’s vote on it.
* The Question: One vacancy or two? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.