"I am pleased to promote two hardworking public servants to their
new positions as the directors of these very important agencies.
Both Maureen O'Donnell and James Sledge have proven themselves, and
their leadership capabilities have grown during their years of
service in this administration," Blagojevich said.
"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 continued.
James P. Sledge
The governor tapped Sledge, former director of the Department of
Employment Security, to increase the quality of state government
services that are provided to the citizens of Illinois. Sledge is a
lawyer with over 15 years experience and an extensive history of
service in Illinois. He was formerly the executive director of the
Illinois Human Rights Commission and helped to revive the struggling
commission and turn around its reputation in the legal community.
His experience also includes serving as a prosecutor for the Cook
County state's attorney's office, as well as spending time in
private practice. Sledge received his bachelor's degree from St.
Xavier University and his law degree from the University of Notre
Dame. He began his new role on Monday as one of six
African-Americans currently serving as a department head under
The mission of Central Management Services is to allow Illinois
state agencies and governmental entities to focus their resources on
their core missions, helping them to reduce the total cost and
improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the administrative
services that CMS provides the state. The agency is responsible for
procurement, personnel and managing property for the state, as well
as overseeing the state's technology system.
"I have worked very hard throughout my career to serve the
citizens of Cook County and our great state," said Sledge. "This is
an exciting move for me, and I am honored to be placed in a position
where I can positively affect the lives of millions of people and
help to make state government better."
[to top of second column]
Maureen O'Donnell ascends to her new position after serving as
acting director of Central Management Services since March 2007. A
public-sector leader with extensive private-sector experience,
O'Donnell has earned both a law degree and an MBA, and is also a
registered nurse. She has been involved in successful startup
businesses in the construction and manufacturing industries and has
built an impressive record of achievement in the corporate world in
organizational process management and operational leadership.
She joined CMS as assistant director in early 2006, focusing on a
variety of issues, including IT, employee wellness and overall
The mission of the Department of Employment Security is to support
economic stability in Illinois by paying unemployment benefits,
connecting employers with qualified job seekers and providing
economic information to assist in career planning and economic
development. IDES provides employment services and guidance to
workers, job seekers and employers through a statewide network of
employment and training centers and an IDES mobile office. The
agency combines federally funded job training programs in Illinois
into a "workforce development" system where individuals can find a
job or train for a new career.
"I am eager to take on the new challenge of supporting workers
and employers in this tough economic climate that Illinois finds
itself in. I thank the governor for his vote of confidence for
putting me in this new position. I believe that there are many
opportunities here to truly help Illinoisans find, keep and change
careers," O'Donnell said.
[Text from file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]