GOP Senators: Gill Appointment Part of Political Deal
By Chris Slaby
Illinois Republicans are crying foul over the governor’s appointment of a state health official.
They say it is a political deal meant to pave the way for a Democratic congressional candidate next year.
Dr. David Gill of Bloomington was appointed the assistant director of the Illinois Department of Public Health on May 3.
Last year, he mounted his fourth unsuccessful campaign for Congress, and was reportedly considering yet another run. Then came the appointment.
That same day, Madison County Chief Judge Ann Callis resigned. Days later, she announced she was running for Congress in that district.
Republicans say they believe this is not a coincidence. State Sen. Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) is among those calling for a Senate hearing to confirm Gill to the post:
"Look, we're not going to ignore the obvious," Rose said. "Our ability under the constitution is to demand enforcement of the Constitution. That's all anybody here is asking."
State Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) said a confirmation hearing would allow the party to ask Gill about his qualifications.
“I point to the (Champaign) News-Gazette, it ran an article in early May, immediately after the appointment where Dr. Gill is quoted as saying ‘this position is not a well-defined position in terms of its responsibilities,"’ Barickman said. "I’d like to know what those responsibilities are, and how the candidate feels he’s qualified for them.”
Sen. Sam McCann, R-Carlinville, said while Gill could be qualified for the job, “How do you know if we don’t have an opportunity to ask?”
Gill’s position is subject to confirmation in the Senate. But he gets to remain in the job for 60 days when the legislature is in session before the vote has to happen.
With the General Assembly heading for its summer recess, it is possible Gill would not be reviewed until next year.
A Quinn spokesman said Gill is more than qualified for the job. But he did not address Republican accusations of a political motive.