OPINION

It pays to have friends

Staff Writer
Woodford Times

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn calls former  State Rep. Mike Smith a “friend.”

For Smith it pays to have friends in high places. In Smith’s case it pays $93,926 annually.

Quinn just appointed Smith, who failed to be re-elected to the Illinois House of Representatives in November, to the Educational Labor Relations Board paying $93,926 annually.

That’s not bad for government work.

Did, we mention Smith, like Quinn, is a Democrat?

Of course, Quinn said that Smith is a fervent supporter of education. For nearly $100,00 annually, just about anyone would become a zealot about education real fast.

This is just another example of the fact that Quinn is simply posing as a reformer. He knows this appointment stinks.  

At the same time Quinn is appointing a friend to a good paying job, his predecessor — Blago — is awaiting the verdict in his trail in a Chicago courtroom for allegedly trying to sell President Obama’s “(bleeping) golden” former U.S. Senate seat.

How is appointing a man Quinn calls his “friend” supposed to help quell the righteous suspicion many hold about those who hold power in Illinois?

But, wait, maybe Smith is well qualified. Well, no.

When the Associated Press asked about Smith’s qualifications for the job Quinn’s office failed to answer.

Smith said, “I feel like I still have something to offer the state, to public service, and this is one way I can do it.” Dandy, but is he qualified?

Smith, the AP reported, was a member of the Elementary and Secondary Education Committee for the entire 16 years he spent in the Illinois House. The last four years on that committee Smith was chairman, and also served as chairman of an education appropriations panel.

Despite those qualifications on his resume the AP reported Smith “acknowledged he does not strictly meet qualifications for the board governing public school teachers’ collective bargaining. It requires ‘a minimum of five years of direct experience in labor and employment relations.’”

But, this is Illinois. When you have friends in high places things like qualifications are just pesky details.