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Guv cand Guv cand Whitney (G-IL) on Quinn’s Firings and Ethics

Picture of Rich Whitney, Green Party candidate...

Rich Whitney

Green Party governor candidate Rich Whitney (IL) reacted with suspicion to the recent staff changes in Governor Pat Quinn’s administration. On August 13,  Quinn terminated the employment of Executive Inspector General James Wright. On Sunday, August 22, Quinn’s Chief of Staff Jerry Stermer resigned after using his state email address for campaign correspondence.

Whitney remarked:

I applaud Chief of Staff Stermer for acting appropriately. Anyone can make a mistake and he did the right thing by recognizing that he had committed an ethical violation, and reporting it promptly.

However, this now raises questions about the timing of Governor Quinn’s termination of Inspector General Wright ten days ago, since that occurred on the same day that Wright recommended that the Attorney General file a complaint against Stermer with the Executive Ethics Commission. Governor Quinn owes the people of Illinois an explanation for the firing of James Wright.

Illinois is still suffering from both the practice and the reputation of being a state in which ethics is a new concept. Firing one of the state’s top ethics enforcers on the same day that he takes action against one of the governor’s top aides doesn’t help matters. At a minimum, it appears to be another example of poor judgment on the part of the incumbent governor. I’m not sure how Quinn can keep running for office at this point. It’s kind of hard to run after you’ve shot yourself in the foot as many times as he has.

Rich Whitney is a 55-year-old civil rights and employment lawyer from Carbondale. As a lawyer, he has fought for working people who have lost their jobs or had their rights violated. A founder of the Illinois Green Party, he has long been politically active in support of the labor, health-care reform, environmental, civil rights, and peace movements. In 2006, he served as the Green Party’s first candidate for Governor, winning over 360,000 votes and making it possible for Illinois voters to have a third choice on the ballot statewide.

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