MWRD resignation raises possibility of another Blago appointment

  • By Jennifer Slosar
  • Environment Reporter
  • January 08, 2009 @ 3:35 PM

Governor Rod Blagojevich may have another appointment to make in the near future.

Patricia Young resigned her seat on the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District’s Board of Commissioners to return to her former position in the public affairs division of the district.

Under Illinois law, the governor appoints a replacement.

Young submitted her resignation on Jan. 2, according to Board President Terry O’ Brien.

The commissioner, who is a single mother, says she is leaving her post after “a lot of soul searching” in order to spend more time with her son, who is in first grade.

“I was always a very active, high-profile, full-time commissioner,” says Young, who chaired the Stormwater Management Committee.  “It was beginning to really weigh on me, and I didn’t feel I could continue to fulfill my responsibilities as commissioner to the degree that I think is necessary.”

Young says her elected position required her to attend local watershed planning committee meetings and other community functions that took place in the evening. With her new position she will have more regular, daytime hours.

Young, who worked for the district for 19 years before taking a civil service duty exemption and being elected commissioner in 1992, will resume a full-time position as associate public relations associate with the district.

Young will make roughly $90,000, says Jill Horist, the MWRD spokeswoman who will be her supervisor.  She earned approximately $50,000 as a commissioner, which is a part-time position, Horist says.

Blagojevich, charged by federal authorities with scheming to sell President-elect Barack Obama’s senate seat, is under fire for naming Roland Burris as Obama's replacement.

Senate Democrats refused to seat Burris, and Secretary of State Jesse White has declined to sign documents that would ease Burris' path to the Senate.

Asked if that controversy raised concerns over a possible Blagojevich appointment to the MWRD board, O'Brien says the matter is out of the district's hands.

The seat will be up for election in 2010.

Also at today’s meeting, the remaining eight board members elected new officers and approved new assignments for standing committees.

O’Brien was reelected as board president; Kathleen Therese Meany was reelected to her post as board vice president; and Gloria  Alitto Majewski won reelection as finance chairman.

Also today, the district approved a $258 million bond issue to fund several construction projects over a three-year period.  The bonds are being issued under the State Revolving Loan Fund program administered by the Illinois E.P.A.

Among the projects are a bypass tunnel for Phase 1 of the 39th Street Conduit Rehabilitation Project.

Jennifer Slosar is a Chicago-based freelance journalist. She covers environmental issues for the Daily News