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It’s way too early for this, but let’s talk about it anyway since Greg brought it up

Wednesday, Oct 31, 2018

* WGN TV’s Tahman Bradley interviewed JB Pritzker yesterday

TB: Gov. Rauner is a wealthy man with no government experience. President Trump, wealthy man, no government experience. You’re a wealthy man, no government experience. How are you different?

Pritzker: Well, that’s not true. I do have government experience. In fact, I think people should take note that if I was some sort of political person that was running for everything, I might not have chosen this year to run just for the point you made. There’s a failed president in Washington, DC who’s a wealthy businessman. There’s a failed governor here in Illinois, who’s a wealthy businessman. But here’s the thing: I bring real experience to the job getting things done for working families.

The only state government experience he has is chairing the Human Rights Commission and occasionally yakking on the phone with Rod Blagojevich. That ain’t much. I get that he’s in campaign mode and has to say those things, but I do hope he doesn’t actually believe that his limited experience means he understands state government. He doesn’t. If elected, he will need people who do understand.

* Brian Mackey

“I had probably as good a resume as anybody going into the governor’s office,” says Jim Edgar, who was governor of Illinois from 1991 to 1999 — after being secretary of state, Gov. Jim Thompson’s top lobbyist, and a state legislator.

“But jiminy, I’ve got to say a lot of things surprised me,” Edgar says. “I can’t imagine people that hadn’t had any experience.”

Edgar says there are ways an amateur politician could help himself in the job: Bring in good people. People who know the history and process of Illinois government. And listen to their advice.

* With that in mind, Greg Hinz takes a look at possible Pritzker administration honchos

Possibly more likely to move to government is former Clinton labor outreach director Nikki Budzinski. A former president of Illini Democrats, she is a senior campaign adviser and would be a solid choice for a policy slot. Ditto scheduler Mary Urbani, political director Sean Rapelyea and Mike Alexander, a former staffer to U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin who’s been around the campaign a lot. Campaign spokeswoman Galia Slayen also may have a continuing role.

Some outside names also come up, including state Sen. Andy Manar of Bunker Hill and state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz of Chicago, a veteran House member who ran for Congress several years back and lost to Mike Quigley.

Manar’s name came up a lot in my calls, and for good reason: He has excellent legislative ties as former chief of staff to Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, comes from downstate and was chief sponsor of the new education aid package. In other words, he has the inside knowledge of how state government works that Pritzker lacks. He might work as state school superintendent, budget director or even chief of staff. But Manar is having to fight very hard for re-election—so hard that Pritzker might really, really have to lean on him to take the job.

Also mentioned for chief of staff is Steven Collens, who was J.B. Pritzker’s chief of staff at the Pritzker Group and played a key role in putting together the 1871 tech incubator. He now runs health care incubator Matter.

IMHO, under no circumstances should a governor - whoever it is - hire a chief of staff with no state government experience in Illinois. We do not need a Rauner repeat.

Also, while Manar is still campaigning hard all day every day, he’s practically coasting to reelection right now. The GOP has done almost nothing to take him out. But that’s an Andy Manar district. An appointed replacement would have a tougher time. If he ever wants to run statewide, though, he needs to get out of the Senate and move away from his position on guns or he’ll have a rough Democratic primary (unless the field can be cleared). He could be a good chief of staff, though. He could also be a good budget director (so would Sen. Elgie Sims, by the way, or Rep. Greg Harris, or Sen. Heather Steans, or Jessica Basham, or Kristin Richards or a ton of other good people).

Anyway, I’m gonna avoid talking about everyone else because the campaign is still chugging along and I have to deal with some of these folks. Your thoughts?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

54 Comments
  1. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 11:26 am:

    Greg has no idea what he’s talking about. This story should be taken with trainloads of salt.


  2. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 11:27 am:

    Plenty of time to measure the drapes starting next Wednesday, if warranted.

    Right now, if I were Pritzker and his honchos, I’d be watching carefully that my kiddie korps doesn’t do something really stupid, like, I don’t know, post pictures in blackface on social media.


  3. - DuPage Bard - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 11:28 am:

    I think Jeanne Ives is available


  4. - Application - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 11:28 am:

    Is there where staffers and supporters leave their names and resumes for consideration under an anonymous handle?


  5. - Captain Illini - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 11:29 am:

    I would caution JB that his rhetoric should begin to consolidate the state and not continue to divide it - with the failed president language. The President has many “wins” - not in a purely political sense in the point of view to a democrat, but clearly have benefitted many people of both parties. He will win, and govern ALL Illinois citizens…so might as well start now.


  6. - Galena Guy - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 11:30 am:

    Well, if nothing else, I’m guessing that J.B. will be more likely to take advice than you know who. Just spekalatin’ though….


  7. - Roman - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 11:30 am:

    == We do not need a Rauner repeat. ==

    Rauner surrounded himself with former Congressional staffers and campaign advisors who were excellent at DC-style “win the news cycle” tactics, but had little experience in government operations or working the General Assembly. The results speak for themselves.

    Please, please JB, learn from that mistake.


  8. - NIU Grad - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 11:31 am:

    The Human Rights Commission meets in a conference room once a month to hear reports from staff. Most Commission chairs don’t even attend the adjudication panels to review cases.

    I’m surprised no one has gone in-depth on his time chairing that agency, which is woefully backlogged and mismanaged. That is, after all, his only experience in government.


  9. - ChanceMcCall - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 11:31 am:

    While I personally have many reasons not to support JB, his lack of experience is certainly one that anyone can understand.

    Rauner came to Springfield like Mr Deeds. He had a clear and strong agenda he believed would fix Illinois’s problems. His lack of experience created the image of him as a failure because he didn’t understand that trying to do what he considered the right thing was not in the best interests of Madigan or any of the Chicago Democrats. He also was so naive as to believe that the elected were willing to put the best interests of the state ahead of their own benefit.

    That said, JB may not have that problem as he will have Madigan to guide him. Since his main objective is to feel better about himself by being elected Governor, that alliance may be perfect for him even if it is disastrous for Illinois.


  10. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 11:33 am:

    This…

    ===If elected, he will need people who do understand===

    And especially this…

    ===Edgar says there are ways an amateur politician could help himself in the job: Bring in good people. People who know the history and process of Illinois government. And listen to their advice.===

    1,000%. Period. New Paragraph.

    This too, but taken to Pritzker..

    ===…under no circumstances should a governor - whoever it is - hire a chief of staff with no state government experience in Illinois. We do not need a Rauner repeat.===

    If Pritzker were to win, I want Pritzker to succeeed.

    I want Pritzker to succeed… than Illinois will be run soundly as a state need to be… if Pritzker is succeeding.

    Like Rich, others, you could name a dozen of people Pritzker needs to tap into an Administration with a neophyte as governor. It’s NOT a slam, Pritzker has no experience.

    It’s absolutely critical, like fundamentally critical, that Pritzker has one or a few that will tell him “no”, why it’s “no”, and also give the other side, politically and governmentally, to his governing.

    Needs wonks, needs political types, and needs people who first, last, always are looking out for the state, the people, and the governor.

    This ain’t Pollyanna, this is called actual governing.

    My sincere hope is that Pritzker, and those who he trusts, and loves, and love him back enough to push back… my hope is that a professional Administration is formed, with solid old hands, new fresh faces with original ideas, and apolitical wonks… and Pritzker listens, assesses, and governs with the state, and her people, first on his mind.

    If Pritzker wins, I hope for his Administration.

    Oswego Willy


  11. - hot chocolate - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 11:34 am:

    === If elected, he will need people who do understand===

    If elected, he will actually need to listen to people who do understand. Fixed it for ya.


  12. - Arsenal - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 11:38 am:

    ==Since his main objective is to feel better about himself by being elected Governor==

    What else do you know about the hearts of men, Oh Soothsayer?


  13. - Pundent - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 11:41 am:

    Just my opinion but I think what could cast Pritzker as more abled is that he wants to govern. I don’t see that with Rauner or Trump. He might also point to Mark Dayton as a successful governor with wealth. Being rich is neither qualifying or disqualifying.


  14. - Arsenal - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 11:43 am:

    One problem for Rauner that was outside of his control (he had many that were within his control): he had slim pickin’s for staff with any real experience governing. You had to go back 12 years to find the last Republican Governor, and there were reasons that, say, the Rutherford and JBT staffs weren’t fully available to you, either.

    JB will only have to look back 4 years to find experienced staffers, and will have every other statewide office to look to, too, should he win. If he chooses a bunch of neophytes, that’s much more on him.


  15. - Just Me - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 11:49 am:

    Have to disagree with Arsenal. First, there were plenty of solid people who could have helped Rauner. He made a deliberate decision that he did not want people with state government experience. If your resume had any state government experience it was automatically thrown away.

    As to quality people from the Quinn administration that can be recruited to return: it isn’t like that administration was well run either.


  16. - Quizzical - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 11:52 am:

    It wasn’t just Rauner. The last two Democratic Governors also, to some degree, eschewed people with experience in State government. I remember when Rezko and Kelly were filling the Statehouse with people whose only qualification was not being affiliated with Madigan and having an extra $25k.


  17. - Last Bull Moose - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 11:53 am:

    Pritzker needs to set up a process for acquiring and vetting candidates for Directors, Deputy Governors, and key staff positions. If he simply hires people he thinks are good, he will make some mistakes that will hurt himself and the state.

    Years ago I interviewed for a position at Waste Management. After meeting a few people, I was sent to take a psych exam. Every management person had taken the same exam, so top management knew what it meant.
    Pritzker needs people who are smart, knowledgeable, and humble. Humility is needed because they need to realize that they don’t and can’t know everything. They have to learn from their subordinates. I have seen Agency Directors crater on their own arrogance.


  18. - Galena Guy - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 11:57 am:

    Quizzical is right. Though it doesn’t need to be said it needs to be said - governing effectively is not the same as being a politician, though there are a lot of politics in governing effectively.


  19. - Centennial - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 12:06 pm:

    I second Just Me. Hard pass on the PQ 2.0 administration


  20. - Arsenal - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 12:09 pm:

    ==As to quality people from the Quinn administration that can be recruited to return: it isn’t like that administration was well run either.==

    No, and you might want to skip most of the top-of-the-pyramid people, but there was plenty of quality to draw on from the second tier. And there are still all the other Constitutional offices to look toward.


  21. - DuPage Bard - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 12:10 pm:

    Who knows at this point. If he wins remember if. Nothing is over until it’s over.


  22. - Blue Dog Dem - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 12:22 pm:

    My idea of succeeding may differ from JBs’. Reduce the local property tax burden by half. Rewrite work comp causation standards. How ya get there i dont care.


  23. - Colin O'Scopy - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 12:24 pm:

    Sam McCann has a pocket-full of resumes, in case anyone’s interested.


  24. - Jibba - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 12:35 pm:

    BDD, i think you just raised everyone’s income taxes by a few points. Was that what you intended?


  25. - LizPhairTax - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 12:36 pm:

    Bring me binders full of everybody!


  26. - City Guy - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 12:37 pm:

    I would look for areas where there both parties have a basic consensus and start knocking out some victories no matter how small. Change the tone and get the legislature in the mind frame of working together and solving problems together.


  27. - Give Me A Break - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 12:38 pm:

    For the Love of Pete, when it comes to legislative staff don’t go with people just because they worked the campaign for you. Especially when it comes to departments like DCFS, HFS and DHS.

    You better bring people with experience in to head those legislative shops because those departments can you get you in hot water with the GA in a heartbeat.

    You better have people who know the ropes, the players and where the landmines are. And those people better know how to tell lawmakers No, because they will be doing it early and often at those departments.


  28. - Mom of Four - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 12:42 pm:

    Will Pritzker clean house of all double exempt employees at agencies? Will he keep any Rauner holdovers?


  29. - sisyphus down - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 12:45 pm:

    Please, please no Quinn or Blago people - way too much arrogance fronting some of the most clueless and goofy thinking ever. Please - get people smart enough to admit where their knowledge of a topic ends and who reside entirely on this planet.


  30. - Blue Dog Dem - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 12:49 pm:

    Jibba . I have always felt that I would rather pay more when working than when retired.


  31. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 12:50 pm:

    I brought this up the other day with my experience in the Navy.
    Find the Chief Petty Officers “Chiefs”
    In each agency
    Let me repeat
    In each agency
    Chiefs run the Navy
    Cool it on the Ensigns but pair them with a good Chief
    Find good Officers yes ( Nikki Budzinski is an outstanding one. JB has a bunch of fine Officers who I could mention but I don’t know if they are seeking positions)
    But find and retain the Chiefs at each agency
    Chiefs know their deck
    Chiefs work well with others but maintain “good order and discipline”
    And above all find the Chiefs that can show you where the bodies are buried. Where the mines are.
    Rauner destroyed agencies
    Undoing hidden damage is going to be
    So so important
    Stay away from Officers who want to show you their” fruit salad” or medals on their chests.
    Rauners superstars for the most part were flashy fakes
    Hucksters
    Filled with hubris
    Chiefs follow the rules and get things done.
    Every agency has some amazing Chiefs.
    Spare no effort to find them.


  32. - Telly - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 1:02 pm:

    Take a look at the legislators who have around 16 or 17 years of experience. If history serves as an example, they tend to end up taking jobs in a new administration. Four years at a six-digit salary does wonders for a legislator’s pension.


  33. - Soccermom - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 1:07 pm:

    Obviously I am tremendously biased, but there were plenty of “quality people” in the Quinn Administration — and the Blagojevich Administration too, although they were too often overshadowed by the hot mess at the top of the pyramid.

    There are lots of who are rooting for JB’s success — because we like him, but even more because it’s Illinois’ success too. I hope JB’s folk won’t make the mistake of turning away people who love this state and love working in state government because we have the Scarlet B (or the Scarlet Q) on our resumes.


  34. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 1:14 pm:

    Curious what people here would think about Jen Walling as a senior member of the next administration. She has a very good track record of working respectfully with legislators to get policies enacted.


  35. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 1:18 pm:

    Anonymous @ 1:14…Jen Walling was a major Biss supporter. I doubt she has a shot given all of the enviros who supported JB early and would like spots in the admin.


  36. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 1:19 pm:

    ===I doubt she has a shot===

    I doubt you know what you’re talking about, but OK.


  37. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 1:28 pm:

    If he’s elecged, JB needs to meet with MJM and ask him who he wants in tbe new administration.

    Done.


  38. - Arsenal - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 1:31 pm:

    ==Jen Walling was a major Biss supporter.==

    That’s another factor that would make her an attractive candidate, frankly.


  39. - Blue Dog Dem - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 1:33 pm:

    Would love to see JC2 as IDNR director.


  40. - Publius - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 1:44 pm:

    Chris shallow would be good as director of operations at DCEO


  41. - Name/Nickname/Anon - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 1:55 pm:

    All he had to say to that was “I’m a good person, Donald Trump is not”


  42. - Get It Solved - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 2:00 pm:

    I think you will see a solid group of staff with fresh ideas and old timers to help guide them through the process. Should be fun to watch.


  43. - Because I said so... - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 2:12 pm:

    You want a JB field guy to be the COO @ DCEO? See, this is where the silliness starts. Let’s get someone in there who has actually worked at DCEO and knows the front line people. That’s a good way to earn trust and build a solid organization.


  44. - ILPundit - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 2:31 pm:

    Respectfully, what the next administration needs to do is prioritize hiring people who are focused on running the trains on time. Navigating state hiring, procurement rules, figuring out where to assign resources, etc…

    This is not going to be a time for new, innovating policies. Job one is to fix government operations, full stop. Until that gets done, big ideas are doomed to failure.


  45. - Boone's is Back - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 2:58 pm:

    Surprised Greg didn’t talk about how whomever Pritzker appoints in the top brass won’t be beholden to MJM.

    If history is any guide, as soon as he is sworn in, that will be where the conflict comes.


  46. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 2:59 pm:

    Because I said so, exactly. Shallow If he’s the same one on Linkedn has no business development experience, nor any actual experience working for a state agency.
    He’s a bull ensign folks
    i know it’s hard
    But when JB wins
    There should be folks coming back
    Who have experience
    Especially DCEO
    Economic development
    Must be a priority
    I’m sure Mr Shallow is a good leader
    But junior officers must
    Move up the ranks
    Not jump into CO/XO positions


  47. - Because I said so... - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 3:16 pm:

    Honeybear, exactly and thank you. Where Blago and Quinn both failed was throwing institutional knowledge out the window. Working on a campaign is NOT running a state agency. Apples and oranges…


  48. - Honeybadger - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 3:23 pm:

    I think he would be wise to hire Rauner, to remind himself everyday of what not to do./heavy snark


  49. - SAP - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 4:26 pm:

    ==…there were plenty of “quality people” in the Quinn Administration — and the Blagojevich Administration too, although they were too often overshadowed by the hot mess at the top of the pyramid. ==

    Agreed


  50. - Arthur Andersen - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 4:30 pm:

    I can’t believe no one has touted Sam McCann for Press Secretary.

    Agree with Edgar’s premise, and his record largely backs it up, with one huge exception. His first DCCA Director was a private sector consultant with no government experience who was utterly clueless about State Government and politics. As an example, he thought that Appropriations Committee Members should schedule meetings with him if they had questions about the agency budget, because sitting around the Capitol was a big waste of his time.

    Coming from a family of Navy officers and a government background, Honeybear’s analogy is also spot-on.


  51. - OldDutch - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 6:12 pm:

    Honeybear and AA are right on. Whoever is Governor need management in each agency with experience and knowledge of the workings of state government. Bring in outsiders and there will be either a long learning curve or complete failure within the agency and ultimately a “cancer” in the administration.
    There is an old saying in the military, “Learn to trust your NCO’s. Honeybear hit the nail squarely on the head.


  52. - Blue Dog Dem - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 8:01 pm:

    When JB wins, i want him to succeed. The only way that is possible is if all state agencies take a haircut. I mean all. He has to appoint those who have the courage. If his only actions are to raise taxes and spending,much like Rauner, the death of Illinois will be accelerated.


  53. - Credit - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 9:32 pm:

    Running government is nothing like running a campaign. The reality is neither J.B. nor Juliana have real government experience. That’s ok. But they need to hire quality, hardworking staff who know to maneuver through the maze of state government. Many of the people who know how to get things done have been around and came to government from one of Madigan’s shops. That doesn’t mean they’re beholden to Madigan. If J.B. tries to create a wall he will lose out on all that experience and talent.


  54. - cc - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 11:25 pm:

    There is no one with the background that Steve Schnorf offered to this state; but hopefully the next governor will at least have made an effort to seek someone has the basic knowledge of how government works. Not the theory of governing but the nuts and bolts and the tools and rules of law to keep the engine running.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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