House Speaker Michael Madigan seemingly tossed Gov.-Elect Bruce Rauner a bone on Thursday when he blocked his colleagues' efforts to speed up the process of replacing late Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka.
Legislators pitched the idea of calling a meeting to discuss a special election for Topinka's successor. The Republican political veteran died Wednesday after suffering a stroke, sparking speculation on who would replace her and how.
But deal-making, power-broking Democrat Madigan, the Trib reports, thinks the appointment of a new accountant-in-chief is an "executive department" job and the law-making branch should let the governor take charge of that. Indeed: The Illinois constitution gives the governor hiring power in these circumstances.
Rauner, a Republican, succeeds Democratic Pat. Quinn on Jan. 12, and confirmed Thursday that his legal people sat down with Quinn's legal people to make clear that he'd like to promote Topinka's Chief of Staff Nancy Kimme as interim comptroller, the Trib reports, citing Madigan's advice that the pair agree upon a "sensible solution."
Addressing reporters Wednesday, Rauner said he thinks it's "common sense that I would have the ability."
"I'm sure the lawyers will fight about it," he said at the time. "But my own view is that we should have continuity very quickly because the people of the state deserve service. My own view is that Nancy Kimme is her senior person who knows the system, she should step in and serve right now and then when things are clearer and settled we can talk about a permanent person to serve out Judy's four years."
Democratic Sen. President John Cullerton, among those proposing a special election, raised eyebrows over the possible long-term installment of someone who had not been elected to that office. Topinka's death came a month after she won a second term in a midterm-matchup against rival Sheila Simon.
A public memorial service for Topinka is slated for Wednesday. Her spokesman told NBC Chicago that while she "made it very clear she didn't want a funeral or wake" she had said family and friends could hold a memorial service after her cremation.