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Illinois’ new canoe czar let go

April 15, 2010 at 08:26 AM

Gov. Pat Quinn has decided against hiring a longtime aide to fill a new position as coordinator of water trails for the Department of Natural Resources.

Quinn had hired Claude Walker for an $85,000-per-year job in which he would have promoted canoeing and kayaking.

“Because of the importance and very severe situation with the state budget, at the request of the governor’s office, we rescinded the position,” Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Marc Miller told members of a House panel.

The Decatur Herald & Review reports that only hours earlier Miller had defended Walker’s hiring. “We were looking for someone who can write and work on policy,” Miller said.

Walker was an adviser and spokesman for Quinn for two decades.

Click here to read the Decatur Herald & Review’s story on this subject.

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Wow, imagine that Director Miller flip-flopped on another front office hiring fiasco.  Maybe he and Quinn should get their collective acts together, before lying….err make that testifying before the State legislature on budget requests?  Hey Mark, how’s that going for you now?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 04/15 at 08:46 AM

Since he was technically hired he’s probably entiltled to full pension benefits at 3 times
his proposed salary.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 04/15 at 09:45 AM

This position is very extremely important in the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin and to a lesser degree Michigan, because of the unemployment. Most of Illinois creeks are too shallow and muddy to navigate, even with a shallow draft vessel like a kayak. The real key issue is that the Governor did not waste the taxpayers money even in the face of pressure from some of his constiguants.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 04/15 at 11:20 AM

For Christ’s sake, when did this country become the Soviet Union? Everything has to be named czar. I guess we are all the cossacks or peasants then. At least one governmental parasite does not have a job temporary.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 04/15 at 02:20 PM


You must not be a stream fisherman.  If you were, you would know that we have some of the worst stream laws in the country.  If you check out this site (, you will find out that the federal law actually allows navigation on any stream that can be floated with any kind of craft.  Most streams are not too “muddy” or shallow for small crafts.  I am not sure where you came up with that statement.  It seems after reading the information on the above website, the state of Illinois is in violation of the federal laws that have been in place long before anyone had “deeds” to call their property theirs.  Of course, no one owns the water, but the problem is that landowners are allowed to control the passages of crafts through the water that flows through their land.  This is the part that is against federal law.

Posted by stream stalker on 04/15 at 02:29 PM

Stream stalker is right. Illinois access laws suck.

I think Miller was fighting for this position to remain, but ultimately the decision came from above him.

Posted by illin on 04/15 at 03:25 PM

I’m deeply sorry we lost this position, as blagojevich sold the state and DNR down the river years ago.  We are long past being up the creek without a paddle.  Now, unfortunately, we are eye to eye with the tidy bowl man, fighting to keep from being swallowed by the porcelain god.

Oh, by the way, I am riverrat47,,reincarnated.  Changed ISP carriers and couldn’t figure out how to change things, so I reregistered as riverrat4797.  NOT TRYING TO PULL A FAST ONE, Jeff.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 04/15 at 10:23 PM

Nothing changes. I had hopes that Miller and Quinn would not pull the same old political crap of creating do nothing positions at the DNR to take care of political hacks. Now no hope, no change. Over six years without the state Turkey Biologist position being filled as our turkey population is not as high enough priority, but canoeing czar was high priority. Sad that all we are getting is more of the same.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 04/16 at 06:22 AM

Colonel, the turkey biologist job has been posted.  Unfortunately, jobs such as that work slowly thru the system, unlike the “much-needed” canoe czar.  Personally, with the economic situation in Illinois and the changes recently enacted to state retirement, I wouldn’t apply for the turkey job.  My bet is that there will be several qualifed applicants that will lose interest.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 04/16 at 07:41 AM

riverrat- thanks for the update on the position. What cracks me up about this whole fiasco is the incompetence. Walker was an “adviser” to Quinn. What does that say about the management of the state overall when your “adviser” and you would try to pull a bone head move like this, at this time of budget crisis? Bad advice from the adviser, bad move by Quinn, and Miller is “defending” the position creation just hours before Walker gets unhired. This team is too uncoordinated to be on ESPN but they are definitely contenders for the Comedy Channel.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 04/16 at 08:31 AM

In line with riverrat’s comments, DNR was deconstructed over the last several years. I won’t pass judgement on the worth of an advocate for our streams, but I have great reservations about the priorities at DNR. Placing another politcal hire at this time (no matter how fine a person he may be) will further erode the trust between DNR management, DNR’s employees & their constituents. Every personnel move needs to be carefully scrutinized and must be able to pass the “sniff test”. Hiring another chief without real hands-on experience just reinforces the message that anyone can run a park, wildlife area, etc. Anyone can, provided they have the support staff that can carry them and the politcal ties to hide their ineptitude. Sadly, folks like that get the cash and the say-so, while the all important support staff get to keep doing more with less. That approach cannot be sustained.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 04/16 at 09:03 AM

Checked today and yes the turkey position has been finally posted…........ one gold star for the DNR. Now the bad news, the DNR is now up to SEVEN Deputy Directors! It used to be TWO! That costs them the gold star and gives them 5 demerits (one for every Deputy Director) for being over the limit.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 04/16 at 03:05 PM

Amen, prairie dog.  The Colonel and I have both commented about Sleeping Beauty, aka: Son of Sam, and several weeks ago I berated DNR for not firing several unqualified deputy directors-blago appointments whose previous experience was local park board…swing sets, tennis courts, speed limit signs and speed bumps.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 04/16 at 09:53 PM

In the 1950’s, 60’s, and 70’s, the old Department of Conservation built dozens of new State Parks, hundreds of State Lakes and boat launching facilities, an entire State fish hatchery system, conservation areas, visitor centers, hunter and fishermen access areas in Rivers throughout the State of Illinois, with a staff of dedicated employees never numbering more than 1400.  The front office at that time had a Director and maybe 3 or 4 Deputy Directors, but the difference was they all had a real job to do. Has the State opened one new State Park or Hunting Area to the public in the last ten years?  I know they have closed a few in the last several years to save money so that they can now hire more “Deputy Directors.”  But what are they doing for you, the taxpayer?  Now I dare the State Auditor General to follow any of these so-called Deputy Directors around in the State airplanes conducting “official” State business in this important election year.  You know, the person that is responsible for seeing that the taxpayers money is not squandered away on petty partisan political posturing, in the name of conservation of our natural resources.  Everyone thought that corruption in Illinois State government left Springfield with Rod Blagojevich, but you would be wrong.  The surface of real corruption hasn’t even been scratched at.  Quinn and his ilk is no better than that of his predecessor.  New names, same old politics as usual.  The prescription for this kind of corruption is to vote the whole lot of them out of office and start over.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 04/17 at 09:19 AM

BigD - The focus of DOC/DNR changed years ago. The old Conservation Department was among the smallest, lowest paying Agencies in state government. In those days, if a connected person was offered a spot at DOC, it was practically an insult. When there were no more high paying opportunites at the big Agencies, DOC became a dumping ground for the bodies the governor’s office needed to place. Of course, those folks couldn’t (and wouldn’t) start at the bottom. They were put in to oversee the employees who knew the job, but didn’t know a “somebody”. Look at the pedigree of those placed in positions of authority in just the last 10 years. (yes, this predates Blago). As far as new facilities, if the money spent on their new building at the State Fairgrounds and the World Shooting Complex had been invested in existing properties, maybe those parks and wildlife areas wouldn’t be clinging to life. I certainly don’t claim to have all the answers, but if the adminstration truly wants to rebuild DNR, then please consider what made it strong in first place - a staff dedicated to public service. I just happen to believe public service is learned from the ground up.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 04/17 at 11:52 AM

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