Deputy Gov. Nix leaving Blagojevich administration

Sheila Nix is one of two deputy governors. She is stepping down from her post after nearly four years with the administration.

Longtime administration insider and political operative Nix was promoted to the deputy governor's job in 2006. She leaves Friday with her boss, Blagojevich, embroiled in another bitter budget battle and what appears to be an expanding federal corruption investigation.

Accompanied by the governor's press secretary who monitored the interview, Deputy Governor Nix said the public should not read anything into the timing of her announcement.

"In the executive branch, working for the Governor, there's never a good time to leave, never a natural break," Nix said.

The resignation will come during the week after the conviction of Tony Rezko. The Blagojevich fundraiser was charged with using his influence with the governor to stack state boards and then trying to get kickbacks from companies trying to do business with those boards.

The 46-year-old Nix, an attorney, has advised or campaigned for Blagojevich since 2003.

Nix said she does not know Tony Rezko.

Nix, who described herself as part of the governor's inner circle, insisted that the Rezko matter and the possibility it could lead to more indictments are not major administration concerns.

"That's not really our focus. Our focus is what we can we get done for the people that elected the governor," Nix said.

A bigger worry, she says, is the state's $2 billion budget deficit and getting House Speaker Michael Madigan to sit down and negotiate a solution.

"We've asked Speaker Madigan to come to the last several meetings," said Nix. " He hasn't come. That doesn't mean he won't come the next time."

Nix says by leaving this week, she'll be at home when her school age children begin summer vacation. As for the ongoing federal investigation of her boss, she had no regrets about her role during the past five years.

"I'm very proud of the work that the governor has done and that I have been able to help with," she said.

Nix said her best accomplishment is helping develop the state program offering universal healthcare. She'll be replaced as deputy governor by Bob Greenlee who most recently worked as the governor's deputy chief of staff.

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