Blago Business as Usual

Governor keeps making appointments

At least Gov. Rod Blagojevich hadn't yet been impeached - though he had been charged in a criminal complaint - when he appointed Roland Burris to the U.S. Senate.

Since being impeached, the governor has made another major appointment - though obviously not on par with the Burris move - and might be contemplating another one.

Late Friday, Blagojevich named former state Rep. Kurt Granberg as the state's new director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Granberg retired his office a week ago in order to take the position, which pays $133,000 a year.

The Bloomington Pantagraph said Granberg was "often a rare ally of the impeached governor on the House floor."

The appointment must be approved by the state senate, so he's not a shoo-in.

"Asked if he feared accepting an appointment from Blagojevich, who faces an impeachment trial in the Senate," the Pantagraph reported, "Granberg said he thinks people will realize his appointment was planned before the governor was arrested on federal corruption charges last month."

Perhaps, but outdoors writer Dale Bowman of the Sun-Times is among outdoorsmen who are livid at the appointment.

"Granberg has no particular qualifications to head the IDNR," Bowman wrote on Sunday.

"What made this particularly galling was that two Republican governors for the 12 years before Blagojevich had a professional running the IDNR and its predecessor, the Department of Conservation, namely Brent Manning."

The implication is that Blagojevich has given the job to political allies - including Sam Flood, who has held the job the last three years - instead of natural resource professionals.

And Blagojevich may not be done yet. The Sun-Times reports today that there is an opening on the board of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago - not the sexiest position in the state but one that not only pays $50,000 a year but "is often seen as a stepping-stone to higher office."

Sun-Times reporter Abdon Pallasch notes that, like the U.S. Senate seat that went to Burris, Blagojevich could appoint himself to the board. Not likely, but somehow fitting that he would end up on the board of an agency that treats waste-water in the area.

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