University Trustee seat vacant for more than a year

Illinois+Gov.+Bruce+Rauner+attends+a+bill+signing+on+Thursday%2C+Aug.+24%2C+2017+at+the+Safer+Foundation+North+Lawndale+Adult+Transition+Center.+

Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner attends a bill signing on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017 at the Safer Foundation North Lawndale Adult Transition Center.

By Haipei Wu, Staff Writer

For over a year there has been an empty seat on the University of Illinois Board of Trustees. Governor Bruce Rauner’s administration is responsible for filling the role, though no permanent action has been made yet.  

“Our administration is still in the process of considering candidates for this vacancy,” Rachel Bold, press secretary for Rauner, said in email.

The Board is responsible for approving budgets as well as hiring coaches and administrators. According to Article 1 of the Board’s bylaws, it is the Board’s job to secure revenues for the University and to formulate the University policies, while leaving the execution of to each campus’ administration.

“The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois is the chief governing body for the U of I System and has fiduciary responsibility for the operations of the university,” Thomas Hardy, executive director for University Relations, said in an email.

The vacancy on the Board hasn’t caused any dysfunction, although it certainly impacts its ability to have a proper quorum for certain meetings, Hardy said. There are usually nine trustees sitting on the Board, with an additional three student trustees who hold one official vote.

When three seats on the Board were vacated last January due to expiration, Rauner said he had the hope of filling the seats with “superstar” talent, according to the Associated Press.

Two of the three vacant seats have been filled since then. Donald Edwards, private equity investor in Chicago, and Stuart King, Champaign physician, were appointed to those seats in March and July respectively.

Four Republicans, two Democrats and two independents are the current Board members. There is a cap of five trustees that are allowed to come from the same political party under the state law.

The vacancy hasn’t impacted the Board’s work so far, including during their election of executive committee members last month, Hardy said. Two members were selected to hold the office along with the Chair of the Board, representing the power of the Board in occasions.

“Ideally, a full Board is most optimal, but having a vacancy is not critical,” Hardy said.

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