Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Do we really need the cost of yet another election come 2016?

One thing we should take into account when walking into a voting booth to pick chief executives for government is that those people do get the authority to fill vacancies for lower posts, as they become available.

If you don’t trust the individual to fill government positions, then perhaps you should consider voting for someone else.

MY POINT BEING that I accept the fact that governors, in Illinois and elsewhere, have the ability to pick individuals for any posts that become vacant due to unexpected circumstances.

So as for those people out there who are now arguing it would be unconscionable for someone to get a full four-year appointment to serve as Illinois comptroller without having been voted into the office, I have to regretfully disagree.

We voted for the governor and gave him the appointment powers. And as for those who will say they didn’t vote for the governor and wanted the “other guy” in office, well “Too bad.” Your guy lost on Election Day.

This is pretty much my stream of thought this past week as Illinois government tries to figure out who the new state comptroller will be.

JUDY BAAR TOPINKA, who in 2010 was elected to a term that runs through noon on Jan. 12 and last month was re-elected to another four year term in the post, isn’t going to be able to fulfill her state constitutional duties.

In fact, the memorial service being held Wednesday at a labor union hall in suburban Countryside (just a couple of towns over from her long-time home in Riverside) will give people their last chance to pay respects to Topinka’s memory.

Then, the hard-core politicking to replace her will be underway. Although it can be argued that that politicking during the past week has been intense in its own weird way.

We can make a serious argument about whether Gov. Pat Quinn or Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner is being more petty and childish, while Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, is coming across as the mature, responsible adult here.

WHILE DAUGHTER LISA, the state’s attorney general, is coming up with the rules by which a Topinka replacement will be picked.

It seems that Quinn is likely to get to pick the person who finishes Topinka’s 2010 term, while Rauner will have say over who gets to take over when he assumes control of state government next month.

Rauner is making it clear that he wants his pick for a comptroller to run through 2019, while there are those who are arguing intensely that there ought to be a special election in 2016 (paired up with the presidential and U.S. Senate from Illinois seats that will be up for grabs) to pick a new comptroller.

As Illinois law and the state constitution is now written, the governor gets to fill the vacancy until a new election is held (in November 2018) and there are NO provisions for special elections.

ALTHOUGH THERE ARE clauses that are being interpreted by some to say that the General Assembly has the ability to amend the law to create a special election.

Which I think is a waste of time and financial resources that could be better spent elsewhere. Even with other government posts up for grabs two years from now, it still adds to the bureaucracy to add another post into the mix.

It’s true that governors filling vacancies usually get to do so for shorter time periods. Perhaps a year or so. Or, like Quinn, one month for comptroller.

But I don’t like the idea of rewriting state law every time unique circumstances occur. We need to have consistency in logic in the way our government operates, and this very unusual circumstance shouldn’t create a change that seems motivated more by the political partisanship of people whose preferred candidate lost in last month’s election.

A PART OF me still thinks it was silly to have a special election in 2010 to pick a replacement for the final six weeks of Barack Obama’s six-year U.S. Senate term, just because they despised the idea of a Rod Blagojevich-connected appointment getting any time on Capitol Hill.

If you hate the idea that Rauner will get a four-year appointment for a state constitutional officer, then perhaps you should work harder to defeat him should he decide to seek re-election in 2018.

Trying to create special elections sounds too much to me like trying to get a “Do Over,” which is an idea that real people grow out of on the playground roughly about the time they turn six.


No comments: