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Office of the Governor

Named by Gov. James R. Thompson to top staff positions in his office effective January 5 were:

Robert K. Kjellander Jr., Springfield, as director of legislative affairs. He replaced Jim Edgar who was sworn in as secretary of state January 5. Kjellander was the governor's haison to the Senate in 1977 and became director of the governor's office of personnel in 1978. Previously he was assistant director of governmental affairs, Illinois State Medical Society.

Gregory W. Baise, Springfield, as assistant director of government operations, replaced Kjellander in the personnel office and also took on new responsibilities as assistant to Arthur Quern, director of government operations. A former Jacksonville alderman, he has been an assistant to the governor since 1977 and was in charge of scheduling and appointments.

Michael Woelffer, Springfield, replaced Baise as director of the scheduling office. Woelffer has been on the governor's staff since 1979 and was previously a marketing representative for International Business Machines, Corp.

Meanwhile, more turnover is expected as members of the (young) old guard of the Thompson administration respond to career and family needs. Those who have announced their intentions of resigning include: Julian d'Esposito, the governor's director of staff and legal counsel; Gary Starkman, special counsel to the governor; and Gayle Franzen, director of the Department of Corrections.

Office of the Attorney General

William R. Ghesqulere, Springfield, as deputy attorney general, by Atty. Gen. Tyrone C. Fahner, effective in December. The office has been vacant since George Lindberg was elected to the 2nd District Appellate Court in 1978. Ghesquiere is chief counsel for the Department of Transportation where he has worked since 1972. Previously he worked in the Bureau of the Budget under Gov. Richard B. Ogilvie.

Appointments to the General Assembly

Recent appointments to fill vacancies in the General Assembly include:

Timothy F. Degnan, as state senator (D., Chicago), by the 23rd District Democratic Legislative Committee. He replaced Sen. Richard M. Daley who was elected Cook County state's attorney. Degnan is director of data processing for the City of Chicago and has been a community worker for the regular Democratic party in the 11th Ward for a number of years.

Rep. W. Timothy Simms, as state senator (R., Rockford), by the 34th District Republican Legislative Committee to fill the vacancy left when Sen. Lynn Martin (R., Rockford) was elected U.S. representative from the 16th District. Simms had been a state representative since 1971 and was elected this November to a sixth term in the House. Appointed by the legislative committee to replace Simms in the House was James C. Kelley (R., Rockford). Kelley is owner and president of the Rockford Mercantile Agency, Republican county chairman of Winnebago County and former chairman of the Rockford Civil Service Commission.

Redd F. L. Griffin, as state representative (R., Oak Park) by the 21st District Republican party to replace Rep. Vincent E. Molloy (R., Oak Park) who died in November after having won election to a fifth term in the House. Griffin is a social science teacher at Morton High School and a writer and consultant. He has been active in Republican politics and Oak Park community activities. He was twice elected trustee of Oak Park Township and was vice president of what is now the Township Trustees Association gf Cook County.

For the record newly elected Sen. Glenn V. Dawson (D., Chicago) was named by the 30th District Legislative Committee to serve the remaining month of the term of Sen. Samuel C. Maragos (D., Chicago). Maragos resigned December 3. Dawson had served in the House since 1977 and was elected to the Senate from the 30th District this November. The legislative committee named Frank Giglio (D., Calumet City) to serve the remainder of Dawson's term in the House. Giglio was state representative from 1973-1979 and was elected to the House this November.

Dixon's Senate staff

Staffers from former Secy. of State Alan J. Dixon's office who went to Washington, D.C., with U.S. Sen. Dixon include:

Eugene Callahan, Springfield, as administrative assistant in charge of Dixon's Washington office. Callahan had been assistant secretary of state.

Craig Lovitt, Galesburg, as executive assistant. Lovitt had been assistant to the secretary of state.

Wade Nelson, River Forest, as press secretary. A former reporter for the Chicago Daily News, Nelson was Dixon's press secretary during the Senate campaign In addition, Joseph McMahon, Chicago, was named executive assistant in charge of the Chicago office. McMahon was deputy secretary of state. Callahan and Nelson began work in December; Lovitt and McMahon in January.

The Judiciary

The Supreme Court appointed the following attorneys as circuit judges:

Peter Georges, Oak Lawn, to the Circuit Court of Cook County, effective November 18. He replaced Irving Landesman who resigned.

Gene McWhorter, Aledo, to the 14th Judicial Circuit, effective December 1. He replaced David Mason who resigned.

George S. Miller, Champaign, to the 6th Judicial Circuit, effective January 1, 1981. He filled the vacancy created by the death of Roger Little.

Reagan names Block to cabinet

JOHN R. BLOCK, director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture for Gov. James R. Thompson, was named to the Cabinet post of agriculture secretary for the new Reagan administration by the president-elect on December 22.

An Illinois farmer who still helps manage the family farm in Knox County, Block has been hailed by some farm interests as a man who knows "production agriculture" and its problems. To others. Block appears untested. Yet as one farmer put it: "Anyone has to be better than Bergland."

Block was only 42 when Thompson named him Illinois agriculture director in 1977. And perhaps the single area of national farm pohcy on which Block's position is well-known is the grain embargo imposed by President Carter on the Soviet Union. Block, and Gov. Thompson, have been very critical of the embargo and its effects on Illinois agriculture.

While Block was Illinois' agriculture director, the State Fair came under jurisdiction of his department.

Odas Nicholson, Chicago, to the Circuit Court of Cook County, effective November 24. Nicholson, an Illinois Issues board member, was delegate and secretary to the Illinois Constitutional Convention. She filled the vacancy created by the death of Harold Nudelman, who was also a delegate.

Alfred T. Walsh, Chicago, to the Circuit Court of Cook County, effective December 10. He replaced William Sylvester White who was elected to the 1st District Appellate Court.

Scott B. Diamond, Decatur, was apointed associate judge by the circuit judges of the 6th Judicial Circuit, effective December 1.

David J. Mason, Aledo, resigned as judge of the 14th Judicial Circuit, effective November 30. Mason had been a judicial officer since 1976.

Boards and commissions

Joel H. Jastromb, Highland Park, as member of the Board of Trustees of the Teachers' Retirement System, by the governor in December for a term ending July 15, 1984. Jastromb, a financial analyst, is president of Rodman and Renshaw, Inc. He replaced Don Browning, Princeton, who resigned (see Illinois Issues, December, p. 34). The appointment is unsalaried and does not require Senate confirmation.

Other appointments

The State Chamber of Commerce (ISCC) announced two appointments in November: Raymond J. Bodnar, South Holland, as general manager-legislation; and Robert B. Swaim, Springfield, as manager of the legislative department. Bodnar is in charge of coordinating the legislative activities of ISCC's major departments. He was previously director of ISCC's energy, environment and economic development programs. Swaim, who will be headquartered in Springfield, was governmental affairs coordinator for the Alton Box Board Company and treasurer of its pohtical action committee.

Elizabeth M. Cleaver, Peoria, was elected president, and James W. Sanders, Marion, was elected vice president of the Illinois Association of School Boards for one-year terms in November. Cleaver is member and president of the Peoria District 150 Board of Education. Sanders is member and former president of the Marion Community Unit District 2 Board of Education.


George A. Nichols, Springfield, as executive secretary of the Legislative Reference Bureau, effective December 31. Nichols first began working for the bureau in 1943. In 1953 he went into the private practice of law and later served as legal secretary to Supreme Court Judge Harry Hershey. He returned to the reference bureau in 1 ;>62 and was executive secretary for the last six years. Nichols, who has seen many changes in the General Assembly including the switch from biennial sessions to annual ones, the use of computers, larger legislative staffs and the greatly increased time legislators spend in Springfield, does not believe cutting back the size of the House will greatly reduce costs or the number of bills introduced. His future plans include hiking, reading and possibly some writing. Succeeding Nichols as executive secretary is Stanley M. Johnston, Waverly, who was deputy secretary of the bureau.


Two half-hour television programs produced by the Department of Conservation have won first place awards in national competitions. "Southern Illinois . . .Goose Capital of the World" was named Best Television Program by the Association for Conservation Information in June, and "Heritage Days in Illinois" took first place in the annual Wes Francis Audiovisual Excellence contest in October. Both programs were written, produced and directed by Tom Hecht, Chatham, head of the television section of DOC; the photographer was Ben Lenkart, Chatham, DOC staff photographer. Copies of these videotape programs can be made available to interested schools and organizations by contacting Tom Hecht, Information and Education Division, DOC.

Scott Douglas Krueger, Neoga, a senior at Neoga High School, and Amy Cecelia Rich, Fox Lake, a senior at Grant Community High School, were selected as the Illinois delegates to the 19th Annual U.S. Senate Youth Program by a selection committee of the State Board of Education. Delegates took part in a week-long program in Washington, D.C., in January and win also receive a $1,500 scholarship funded by a grant by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation. Selected as alternate delegates from Illinois were: Leslie Jo Hartley, Carey Grove High School, Carey; Scott Michael Davis, Monticello High School, Monticello; and Maria G. Landers, Ursuline Academy, Springfield.

February 1981/Illinois Issues/31

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