Bernard Schoenburg: Lesko takes job with state treasurer
Springfield Ward 4 Ald. FRANK LESKO has gone to work for GOP state Treasurer DAN RUTHERFORD.
Lesko is being paid $50,000 annually as logistics coordinator for the treasurer, said Rutherford press secretary MELISSA HAHN.
“It is a new title, but not a new set of tasks,” she said.
Lesko’s job includes working with field staff to set up exhibits at county fairs and events featuring the Cash Dash program, where members of the public can find if they have anything of value in dormant bank accounts or forgotten safe-deposit boxes.
“He’ll be quite busy,” Hahn said. “We’re certainly pleased to have him.”
Lesko, 51, has worked for the city, state and Sangamon County. He was with Sangamon County from 2003 through the end of March, and in his last job there was paid about $64,000 annually as public liaison. His responsibilities included overseeing some hearings and handling complaints. He started his new job April 1.
“I kind of laid myself off,” Lesko said of his county post. He said he recommended his own job be cut when asked last year to find savings in his department.
He said he’s excited to be working for Rutherford.
“He’s a 24-7 type worker,” Lesko said, “and I like that, because that’s the way I am. And he’s real conscientious about the state’s money, and I like that, also. … He’s going to have me working all the time, but I’m honored to work for him and I’m glad I’ve got a job. I think he’s an honorable person.”
Dems looking to 2012
Just to remind us that the election cycle never stops, the Democratic State Central Committee met Monday at the State House Inn in Springfield to approve a selection plan for delegates to the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.
Helping to make things complicated, party legal counsel MIKE KASPER told the group, is that the Democratic National Committee has said that elected delegates will be chosen in the spring primary by voters in Illinois’ 19 existing congressional districts, even though candidates will be running for nominations to the U.S. House in what will be 18 newly drawn congressional districts following the 2010 Census. Kasper said the national committee wanted to avoid any problem with some states redistricting too late for the delegate selection process to go smoothly.
Illinois will send 214 delegates, up from 185 at the 2008 convention. That will include 123 elected at the district level.
House Speaker MICHAEL MADIGAN, chairman of the state party since 1998, said he thinks President BARACK OBAMA “stands very well in Illinois” and will be re-elected in 2012.
“I think he’ll be able to work through the economic problems on the country between now and November of 2012, so that he’ll be a strong candidate all across the country,” Madigan said after the meeting.
Politically, he said when asked, the killing of Osama bin Laden will be a plus for Obama, “but I’m not certain how long it lasts as a plus. I think that the election of 2012 will be like all elections — people are going to vote their pocketbook.”
He said he was “very sad” that MARK MAHONEY decided to leave a job as clerk of the House to become public works director of the city of Springfield, but he wished him well.
I mentioned a rumor I had heard — that maybe Mahoney’s leaving could be seen as a hint that Madigan will retire from the House.
“He’s the one that’s retiring, not me,” Madigan said.
Poe’s Catering gets contract
Poe’s Catering, owned by LANCE POE, son of state Rep. RAYMOND POE, R-Springfield, has won a contract renewal to provide food for Director’s Lawn events at the Illinois State Fair for 2011 through 2015.
The company was one of three that submitted bids for the job, said JEFF SQUIBB, spokesman for the Department of Agriculture. Poe won the job over two other bidders — one of whom was taken out of the running because it was not certified to participate in the small business set-aside program, according to Squibb.
Poe’s Catering has had the contract for two years. Lance Poe said his father’s position doesn’t influence the choice.
“I have to fill out a contract just like everybody else,” he said.
He said his wife, ANGELA, prepared the contract for submission. She works with him in the business.
Poe had been paying the state $4,250 per year plus 11.5 percent of gross proceeds for the right to be the caterer for Director’s Lawn events, which include Governor’s Day and Republican Day rallies. Under the new contract, the company is paying $4,750 per year plus 14 percent of gross proceeds.
Pollster to speak here May 24
Pollster SCOTT RASMUSSEN, president of Asbury Park, N.J.-based Rasmussen Reports, will speak in Springfield May 24 at a luncheon hosted by the Illinois Policy Institute.
“He’s coming to talk about the intersection of public opinion and free-market principles,” said DIANA RICKERT, manager of media relations for the institute. He will also speak on “bigger ideas trending nationally” and on what people can learn from polling results.
Rasmussen has been an independent pollster since 1994.
The lunch is scheduled from noon to 1 p.m. May 24 at the Sangamo Club, 227 E. Adams St. Check-in begins at 11:45 a.m. Tickets are $25 in advance or $35 at the door. They can be obtained through the institute’s website, at www.illinoispolicy.org/events, or by calling (312) 607-4977.
In an odd twist, plans are to have Rasmussen introduced in Springfield by the policy institute’s executive vice president, KRISTINA RASMUSSEN — who is not related to the pollster.
The pollster will also be at the institute’s Chicago office later May 24.
Bernard Schoenburg is political columnist for The State Journal-Register. He can be reached at 788-1540 or email@example.com.