Breaking News: Quinn says Madigan's plan to fire appointees a good idea

State Capitol Bureau

1:25 p.m. Quinn says Madigan's plan to fire appointees a good idea

Gov. Pat Quinn says House Speaker Michael Madigan's plan to fire 3,000 state workers hired by former Govs. George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich is a good idea.

Madigan today announced his push for House Bill 4450, which would fire appointees and hires made by Quinn's predecessors. Madigan said he's pushing the measure because he's not happy with Quinn's "push for change" since Blagojevich's impeachment.

"I think it is one that we need to use to reassess everything in state government and if we see anything that is improper then we can act accordingly," Quinn said Thursday.

The governor said the move is prudent but will need to be done expeditiously. Madigan's plan calls for the workers to be fired within 60 days, but the governor can rehire those he wants to keep.

Quinn doesn't think the measure is criticism leveled at him.

"I think it helps the process. I think it helps us take boards and commissions where individuals are appointed to set terms that may not expire for years to come and give me an opportunity to evaluate those people who were appointed either by Rod Blagojevich or George Ryan," Quinn said.

State Capitol Bureau

12:50 p.m.: Speaker Madigan says Quinn, Cullerton don't object to firing Ryan, Blagojevich appointees

House Speaker Michael Madigan says he has no objections from other top Democratic leaders to his idea to fire 3,000 state workers appointed and hired by two ex-governors.

Madigan says he's discussed House Bill 4450 with Gov. Pat Quinn and Senate President John Cullerton. Madigan says Quinn did not object to the idea, and Cullerton favors it.

Madigan's proposal is aimed at getting rid of thousands of people put in state government under ex-Govs. George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich.

The speaker also says, as lawmakers work toward a new budget and wrapping up their spring session this month, that he's prepared to vote for a tax increase that balances the budget and pays the bills but not to "grow the government."

Madigan says he's not interested in working on gambling expansion as a way to fill the budget hole or pay for a construction program.

State Capitol Bureau

12:35 p.m.: Speaker Madigan proposes firing thousands of Ryan, Blagojevich appointees

Unhappy with the "pace of change," House Speaker Michael Madigan is proposing ousting thousands of state employees hired and appointed by ex-Govs. George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich.

Madigan announced his push today for House Bill 4450 at a Statehouse news conference.

He says the proposal to fire within two months the appointees and hires made by the criminally troubled ex-governors would affect 90 boards and commissions and about 3,000 state workers.

Madigan says the move isn't intended to impugn the integrity of those who would be fired but to speed up work by Gov. Quinn in cleaning up government's image.

"It's imperative, to use his word, to fumigate the government," Madigan said of Quinn. "I'm not satisfied with the pace of change. I think we have to move faster."

Those affected by the measure include Ginger Ostro and Jack Lavin, both top aides under Blagojevich who have remained in top spots for Quinn since he took office Jan. 29 for the impeached Blagojevich.

Labeled the "Officials and Employees Termination Act of 2009," the measure would get rid of agency heads, assistant heads and deputy heads who were nominated by a governor between Jan. 11, 1999, and Jan. 29, 2009. It also would apply to members of executive boards or commissions who were nominated between those dates and to other officials whose jobs require Illinois Senate confirmation.

Ryan took office in January 1999, and Blagojevich was forced out of office on Jan. 29.

If Madigan's plan becomes law, those officials would have to leave their jobs within 60 days. The governor would have the authority to make temporary appointments to fill the posts, and he could later nominate or employ one of the fired officials.

State Capitol Bureau