Quinn keeps 2 UofI trustees

Kennedy, Oliver added to board
August 26, 2009 4:25:39 PM PDT
Governor Pat Quinn will not fire the two University of Illinois trustees who have refused to resign following a clout scandal.Last week, Gov. Quinn said he had the authority to fire the two holdouts. But on Wednesday Quinn said James Montgomery and Frances Carroll could stay on and finish their terms.

"I think I'm doing what's best for the university and what's best for the taxpayers and what's best for the people of Illinois," said Gov. Pat Quinn, (D) Illinois.

The other seven trustees resigned voluntarily after a scandal involving clout at the University of Illinois was uncovered. Montgomery and Carroll, the only African-Americans on the board, had been in a several weeks standoff with the governor.

Montgomery--who once headed the city law department and now leads one of the most successful legal firms in the city--threatened to sue if the governor acted to remove him from the board because Montgomery insists he hasn't done anything wrong and his reputation is at stake.

"In my view, it is not in the best interest of the university to be in an endless litigation battle with two trustees," said Gov. Quinn. Quinn. Quinn-- who considers himself a favorite to win the important black vote-- did not want litigation between himself and two prominent African-Americans during the primary election.

Also on Wednesday, Gov. Quinn appointed Merchandise Mart President Christopher Kennedy, the nephew of the late Senator Ted Kennedy, to the board, along with Lawrence Oliver, a lawyer with the Boeing Company. Both have accepted the positions.

Five of the nine seats remain open.

"It's unfortunate that this situation has not been put behind us. Probably it should have been thought through a little bit better from the get-go," said State Sen. Christine Radogno, (R) Senate Minority Leader.

Quinn was asked if he thought the seven trustees who resigned voluntarily might feel like "chumps" today.

"I want to commend those men and women- all men- who resigned pursuant to this report," said Gov. Quinn.

The governor said he will act quickly to fill the remaining five openings on the board.


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