|ZOLLAR: Back in her days of political relevance|
The Illinois Gaming Board will continue to be run by Aaron Jaffe and Michael Holewinski – who will remain as chairman and vice-chair. Meanwhile, Shirley Madigan (the spouse of Illinois House Speaker Michael and mother of state Attorney General Lisa) will still be in charge of the Illinois Arts Council.
BUT THE GOVERNOR dug into the political past by a couple of decades in picking a new trustee for Chicago State University.
The vacant seat on the board of trustees for the very urban college on 95th Street and King Drive will go to Nikki Zollar. She currently is president and CEO of Triad Custodial Services and president of SafeSpeed LLC.
But she has her political ties too. Under then-Gov. Jim Edgar, she was director of the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation. And before that, she was appointed back in the days of Mayor Harold Washington to be chairwoman of the city’s Board of Election Commissioners.
It was in those days that Zollar got her moment of political “fame,” although I have to confess to needing to look through the old newspaper clippings from the late 1980s because the specifics of how she got “dumped” on had slipped my mind.
|Nikki Zollar's past ...|
The end result of which was that Zollar became the target of an effort in which the election board’s chairman had much of its authority – including the authority to hire, fire, promote or transfer people – taken away from her.
|... and future (possibly) ...|
At the time, it was described as an effort by the enemies of then-4th Ward Alderman Timothy Evans (now the Cook County Circuit Court chief judge) to take power away from anyone who might become an Evans ally (back in the days when Evans desired to be mayor himself). And yes, many of those “enemies” were people aligned with the then-new mayor, Richard M. Daley.
|... political allies|
All this happened in 1989, and Zollar didn’t exactly make any friends for herself with her actions in the 1990 election cycle; she threw her lot in with the Republicans! She backed GOP candidate Edgar and helped shift just enough of the African-American vote away from Democratic challenger Neil Hartigan that Edgar won.
EDGAR GAVE HER the reward of being director of one of the lesser state agencies. But after he departed the political scene 15 years ago, she hasn’t been anything in government since.
Until now, with Quinn being willing to turn to Zollar for a college trustee’s post. A comeback?
Or is this going to stir up a whole lot of memories that, until now, had receded into the past. The establishment Dems who didn’t want her having any authority because she might be opposed to Richard M., and the black pols who can’t comprehend her willingness to work with Republicans.
The squabbles that could arise – especially from the overly-politicized Chicago State U. board. It’s got all the potential to be ugly because Chicago political people have a knack of being able to hold a grudge; they don't forget who they hate -- even if they can't quite remember why they're displeased with the person to begin with!