Gov. Pat Quinn
Updated: December 3, 2012 6:35AM
So much for a quiet deal between Chicago’s mayor and the governor over the fate of the public agency that runs U.S. Cellular Field.
Instead, Gov. Pat Quinn appears to have rammed through his choice to head the agency. Quinn simply wasn’t going to let Mayor Rahm Emanuel win this one.
But what about the rest of us chumps, the taxpayers?
After a bruising public fight between Emanuel and Quinn over Quinn’s choice to run the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, the agency’s board on Thursday voted 4-to-3 to appoint Quinn’s pick, Kelly Kraft, to run the agency.
Emanuel didn’t want Kraft and he was right.
A 39-year-old former TV reporter, Kraft is Gov. Quinn’s communications chief and former deputy budget director and has a fine reputation.
But she is not the most qualified person for the job.
The most qualified person was passed over. Diana Ferguson, Emanuel’s pick, is a well-regarded former CFO for the Chicago Public Schools and for Sara Lee Foodservice. She would have been an excellent choice, and the three ISFA board members appointed by Emanuel, who all work in finance, favored her.
Illinois deserves nothing but the best for its agencies. That’s particularly true for ISFA, which is in charge of managing one of the city’s great assets, White Sox park, and protecting the taxpayers who paid for it.
Last month, we urged Quinn and Emanuel to end a public fight that was unfairly damaging Kraft’s reputation, and to find a mutually agreeable choice.
That didn’t happen.
On Wednesday afternoon, Quinn replaced one of his four picks on the seven-member ISFA board. The ousted board member, Manny Sanchez, had made it clear he did not favor Kraft and showed up to the ISFA board meeting on Thursday unaware he was no longer a member. Sanchez, who does legal work for the city, was replaced by Dr. Quentin Young. Young voted for Kraft.
Kraft earned points for handling this matter gracefully.
“Today is a new day,” Kraft told the Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman on Thursday after the vote. “I’m moving forward. I’m hoping to earn the respect of the mayor and the board members through my work, just as I earned the governor’s trust.”
We can only hope that Kraft can earn the taxpayers’ trust as well.