his job into an official head of a state agency is a
question of both politics and bureaucracy.
In March 2009, Gov. Pat
Quinn appointed Monken, an Army veteran who served in Iraq, to serve
as the head of the state's police force. Monken replaced Larry
Trent, who had worked with the Illinois State Police for 29 years
and had served as director beginning in 2003.
The Illinois Senate has yet to vote on whether or not Monken
becomes the permanent director, and senators will not be able to
take up the matter until they return to Springfield.
That Springfield return could take place in November, when
lawmakers gather to vote on the governor's vetoes. No veto session
schedule has been finalized for the Illinois Senate yet, according
to John Patterson, a spokesman for Senate President John Cullerton.
However, an eight-member Senate committee that focuses on
gubernatorial appointments would first vote on Monken's
confirmation. If the committee recommends Monken, the full Senate
would then vote on confirmation.
Monken said he is trying to focus on Illinois State Police
business at hand rather than a possible vote by lawmakers.
"That's a decision that's independent (for) each of the members
of the Executive Appointments Committee. All I can do is just
continue to do what needs to be done for the agency, keep doing my
job and let them make the assessment," he said.
State Sen. Rickey Hendon, D-Chicago, a former chairman of the
committee, said the Illinois Senate has 60 session days -- days when
the chamber convenes in Springfield -- to vote on confirmation of
one of the governor's appointments. If no vote takes place, the
appointee is automatically confirmed.
State Sen. Dave Luechtefeld, R-Okawville, a current member of the
committee, said that a confirmation vote for Monken has been
Luechtefeld indicated that the Illinois Senate did not officially
recognize Quinn's appointment of Monken until January, even though
Quinn had announced the appointment in March 2009.
"This is not the way to confirm people, (to) let them learn on
the job. But we'll see how the committee comes down," he said.
Monken's initial appointment caused a stir among lawmakers
because he lacked a background in law enforcement.
Patterson, a spokesman for the Senate president, noted that
Monken has since completed police training courses.
[to top of second column]
Luechtefeld did not know if Quinn delayed providing formal notice
of the appointment to the Senate or if the Senate withheld from
considering the appointment.
When asked about the delay, the governor's office did not provide
Quinn spokeswoman Annie Thompson said in an e-mailed statement:
"Governor Quinn has full confidence in Jonathon Monken, who is
leading the Illinois State Police during one of the worst fiscal
crises in our state's history. The governor continues to look
forward to Acting Director Monken being confirmed by the Senate as
soon as possible."
Likewise, the Senate president's office did not give reasons why
it took until January to recognize the governor's appointment.
"We read (the appointment of Monken) in (to the record) when we
thought it was appropriate to do so," said Patterson.
Monken said the belated confirmation vote was not affecting his
ability to act as Illinois State Police director. But he added that
with his agency facing cuts and a smaller staff, he would like to
see the situation resolved sooner rather than later.
"There are enough things on the plate right now for state
government and specific to the Illinois State Police. We've got a
lot of things that need a lot of attention and need a lot of work.
And it just seems like it's not really necessary to have one more
thing on that plate," he said.
Statehouse News; By KEVIN LEE]