SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Senate on Wednesday rejected three appointments by Gov. Pat Quinn to the Southern Illinois University board of trustees in an ongoing dispute about the school’s governance.
In a rare move, the Democratic-controlled Senate voted 0-23 with 32 “present” votes on Quinn’s request to name Sandra Cook of Collinsville, Melvin Terrell of Chicago and Lee Milner of Springfield to the board overseeing campuses in Carbondale, Edwardsville and a medical school in Springfield.
The Democratic governor had named them Monday as replacements for three board members whose terms expired last month.
The failed ratification vote continues a year-old power struggle at SIU and a fresh fight over the way the Senate provides “advice and consent” on gubernatorial appointments, as the Illinois Constitution requires.
Alton Democratic Sen. William Haine told colleagues he rejected the idea of considering appointments on the floor without the traditional vetting by the Executive Appointments Committee. He also complained that Quinn did not consult the Senate on his nominees.
Rikeesha Phelon, spokeswoman for the Senate Democrats, said Senate rules allow direct floor votes on executive appointments.
The rift dates to last March, when the SIU board — led by Simmons, Hightower and Hinrichs — refused to give Roger Herrin, appointed by Quinn in 2010, another term as chairman, contending he was too involved in day-to-day operations. Simmons replaced Herrin.
Afterward, SIU President Glenn Poshard claimed that Quinn staffers had called board members ahead of Herrin’s ouster to ask if they planned to vote on keeping Herrin as chairman. If members said no, Poshard claimed Quinn staffers asked them to skip the election or risk being kicked off the board.
At the time, Herrin and trustee Donald Lowery were criticizing Poshard’s leadership.
Quinn has denied retaliatory intentions.
Spokeswoman Brooke Anderson said Quinn was disappointed by the Senate’s action.