Directors of CMS, Employment Security switching jobs

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Two top members of Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s Cabinet are swapping jobs.

Blagojevich on Monday named James Sledge as new director of the state Department of Central Management Services and Maureen O’Donnell as new director of the Department of Employment Security.

Sledge was named director of IDES by the governor last year, while O’Donnell had served as acting CMS director since March 2007.

The announcement gave no indication why the two were switching roles.

“I am confident that James Sledge will help lead CMS into a new era of excellence and I look forward to all the great things that will come from his appointment. In this difficult national economy, we need someone like Maureen O’Donnell to help Illinoisans searching for work to get back on their feet and find new employment, or possibly a new career,” Blagojevich said in a statement.

Blagojevich spokeswoman Kelley Quinn compared the swap to reporters changing the beats they cover in newsrooms, saying both directors have many accomplishments while serving the state.

“These new appointments will allow both to fulfill all of their talents to an even greater extent, while continuing to help the people of Illinois,” Quinn said in an e-mailed statement. “This move is an opportunity for growth for both directors.”

IDES oversees paying unemployment benefits for the state and helps connect job-seekers with employers. CMS coordinates administrative services in state agencies, including purchasing, personnel and property management.

Sledge is a former Cook County prosecutor and former executive director of the Illinois Human Rights Commission. O’Donnell has a law degree and an MBA and is a registered nurse who has a long corporate track record.