Weeks later, the issue is still unresolved.
The scandal is the
latest situation adding to the Democratic governor's reputation of
being indecisive since he took over in January from Gov. Rod
Blagojevich, who was ousted after his arrest on federal corruption
Quinn's major challenger in February's primary election, Comptroller
Daniel Hynes, already is making an issue of the governor's leadership
abilities. Republican candidates are criticizing him, too.
And House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, ended the
legislative session with a news conference to complain that Quinn
flip-flopped on the budget, a public works program, borrowing money
Quinn rejects the idea that he's indecisive. Instead, he says,
he's flexible enough to listen to other people's ideas and patient
enough not to act rashly.
Take the University of Illinois, for instance, where officials
sometimes allowed clout and political influence to affect admission
decisions. Quinn appointed a commission to investigate, and it
recommended on Aug. 6 that the university's trustees step down.
The governor took some time to review the recommendations, then
asked for the trustees' resignations. Since then, he has repeatedly
delayed action on removing the trustees as more and more have
"You have to let the process play itself out," Quinn said
recently. "You know, in baseball there's nine innings. We're not in
the ninth inning yet."
Two trustees refuse to step aside. Quinn initially said he would
take action last week. Then he changed that to Monday but wound up
postponing a decision. On Tuesday, he said he would announce his
Hynes accuses Quinn of mishandling the admissions scandal.
"The people of Illinois have a right to be angry as to how and
why this chaotic situation has dragged on so long," Hynes said in a
news release. "The entire summer has gone by without a resolution,
and now matters only seem to be accelerating further off the rails.
The governor has taken a bad situation and made it worse."
Quinn shot back Tuesday: "This is not a time for politics from
people on the sidelines. This is a time to straighten out our state
university so all of us can hold our heads up high."
[to top of second column]
The admissions scandal is hardly the only issue where Quinn has been
accused of dithering and flip-flopping:
warned that a bare-bones budget approved by lawmakers would
force him to slash vital social services. Then he announced that
he would never slash services that deeply.
legislative leaders that he would not link his approval of a
huge public works program to getting the budget he wanted. Then
he refused to approve the construction program until the budget
He testified in
favor of ethics legislation that critics said was too soft, but
now he hints that he'll use his amendatory veto powers to
rewrite the bill.
He initially supported a special
election to fill President Barack Obama's former U.S. Senate
seat, then opposed the idea.
"These are all flip-flops," Madigan said in June. "They are not
helpful to his credibility. They are not helpful to working with a
large group of people as you have in the Legislature."
Quinn, however, argues that most of those actions amount to
maneuvering over details as he focuses on the big picture -- getting
a tax increase to balance the budget, for instance, or toughening
Illinois ethics laws.
Christopher Mooney, a political science professor at the
University of Illinois at Springfield, said Quinn risks weakening
himself by being seen as indecisive. Lawmakers, for instance, are
less likely to concede to him in negotiations if they think he'll
But Mooney doubts the average voter pays much attention to the
kinds of issues on which Quinn has been accused of flip-flopping. He
said they're not big, fundamental issues, such as presidential
candidate John Kerry's 2004 statement that he voted for war funding
before he voted against it.
Still, Quinn's would-be opponents hope voters pick up on the
"I think his resolve is certainly in question," said Sen. Matt
Murphy of Palatine, who plans to seek the Republican nomination for
governor. "The people have a pretty good innate sense of decisive
leadership -- who has it and who maybe doesn't. I think it has the
potential to be an issue for him."
By CHRISTOPHER WILLS]
Associated Press writer Deanna
Bellandi in Chicago contributed to this report.
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