Quinn Dumps Conservation Head for “Professional”

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn dumped the state's conservation chief Wednesday, just weeks after he started work.

Former state Rep. Kurt Granberg took over the Department of Natural Resources Jan. 22 after former Gov. Rod Blagojevich appointed him a week earlier. His ouster could mean he starts collecting a pension of $113,000 a year -- $40,000 more than before he started at DNR.

Quinn earlier told The Associated Press that the beleaguered agency should not be headed by a professional in the field, not another in a "parade of political appointments."

He withdrew Blagojevich's nomination of Granberg for the post Wednesday, spokesman Bob Reed said. His appointment was subject to confirmation by the Senate, which had not acted.

Quinn will name a replacement "quickly," Reed said, but he would not elaborate.

Granberg said his ouster wasn't completely unexpected but said he had tried to talk to Quinn to discuss his plans, to no avail.

State law indicates that as long as he was on the agency payroll and pension contributions were deducted from his pay, a person in Granberg's position would qualify for a pension equal to 85 percent of his final, $133,273 pay at DNR, said Timothy Blair, acting director of the State Retirement Systems. Hehe Blagojevich legacy.

After he was impeached, Blagojevich appointed Granberg Jan. 16, and Granberg started a week later. But the Senate removed the governor from office last week.

Blagojevich, who took office in 2003, first appointed another Democratic representative, Joel Brunsvold of Milan, to lead DNR. Brunsvold resigned in December 2005 after overseeing deep cuts to the agency during budget crises. For more than three years, Sam Flood, who previously worked in Blagojevich's patronage office, was acting director.

Flood has retired but DNR's management team will direct operations until Quinn appoints a new chief, agency spokesman Chris McCloud said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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