Quinn shifts Flores from ICC chief to banking regulator, Senate fight still likely
BY DAVE MCKINNEY Sun-Times Springfield bureau chief February 28, 2011 4:48PM
SPRINGFIELD — Gov. Quinn on Monday pulled the plug on former Ald. Manuel Flores as head of the Illinois Commerce Commission, but Flores still faces a potentially nasty confirmation battle in the Senate over his new role as the state’s top banking regulator.
The governor appointed Flores to head the state Division of Banking within the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation as part of a personnel shake-up within Quinn’s administration.
As a replacement for the ICC chairmanship, Quinn named former state Environmental Protection Agency director Doug Scott, an appointment that will require Senate confirmation.
“Throughout their careers, Doug Scott and Manny Flores have proven themselves to be strong advocates for the interests of Illinois’ working families,” Quinn said in a prepared statement. “Today’s appointments will allow them to keep fighting for Illinois’ consumers by ensuring proper oversight and regulation of utility companies and banks throughout our state.”
Flores had been named ICC chief in January 2010, but the Illinois Senate never confirmed his appointment because of friction between key Latino lawmakers and Flores, who once was the 1st Ward alderman, and because of behind-the-scenes grumbling by the state’s utilities.
In his new position, Flores will be paid $136,217 annually, up from the $134,022 that he received, and that Scott will receive, as head of the ICC.
State Sen. William Delgado (D-Chicago), vice chairman of the Senate Executive Appointments Committee, questioned Flores’ fit in the new post, noting he has no background in banking.
“He lacks experience. I’m not sure what Mr. Quinn’s enamored position with Mr. Flores is since there are so many other qualified people in the state of Illinois,” said Delgado, who also promised to question Flores about his use of state aircraft as the acting ICC chairman.
“We’ve been trying to submit names for a variety of positions, but the door is closed. Since [the governor] knows what’s best for us, send us his candidate,” Delgado said. “I won’t sponsor him. I ask Mr. Flores to do other things. I can’t help him.”
Delgado, who said his dispute with Flores is “bigger than Willie Delgado,” questioned Flores’ “moral turpitude” earlier this month and his flirtation with higher elected office.
Delgado said Flores tried to “throw me out of office” by trying to knock him off the Illinois Senate ballot in 2008, backing rival Joe Moreno, who succeeded Flores as 1st Ward alderman.
Flores did not return a message left at his ICC office.
Other personnel moves Quinn made Monday included moving Lisa Bonnet into Scott’s IEPA post, which will need Senate sign-off, and naming Andrew Ross as chief operating officer in his administration.