Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Second in Command

Last week, Stateline.org had an article on the role of Lieutenant Governors across the country, and their varying roles in different states. In part, the article states that:
Lieutenant governors were more likely than any other officeholders to ascend to a governorship from 1980 to 2006, according to a study released Dec. 5 by the Florence, Ky.-based National Lieutenant Governors Association (NLGA). During that time period, about 25 percent of lieutenant governors became governor, whereas about 1 percent of state lawmakers became governor, the report said...

“In the last four to five years, I think you’ve seen a distinct trend in lieutenant governors becoming very visible and incredibly active in the day-to-day governance of their states,” she said.

Many governors relied heavily on their lieutenants after the states faced budget crunches earlier in the decade, Hurst said, and also when they first had to confront homeland security issues after the 2001 terrorist attack. Using lieutenant governors to tackle those comparatively new problems was a “natural next step,” she explained.

Chi agreed that more lieutenant governors have been playing more visible roles in recent years, but said he thought the degree of their prominence varies widely among the states. In states such as Indiana and Minnesota, the lieutenant governors play a “dual role” as both the governor’s next-in-line and the head of big cabinet departments, he said. In others, they serve in a ceremonial capacity and are often simply waiting for the opportunity to serve as governor, he said.

Forty-two states now have a lieutenant governor; New Jersey will elect its first in 2009.

In 24 states lieutenant governors run on the same ticket as governors, but in 18 states they run independently. Of the eight states with no lieutenant governor, Maine, New Hampshire, Tennessee and West Virginia put the presidents of their state senates first in line to succeed the governor. In Arizona, Oregon and Wyoming, the secretary of state is responsible for taking over.

Now I happen to think a lot of Pat Quinn, our LG, and think that he has been a sincere and passionate advocate for countless causes. But at the same time, without naming names, we have also had our share of lackluster LGs.

While I could argue both sides of this issue, I think that there is a legitimate debate as to whether it makes sense to have a Lieutenant Governor in Illinois, and if so, what the role of the office should be.

While we're kind of on the subject, I think an equal debate could be had as to whether we should have a separate Treasurer's office and Comptroller's office. Bills have previously been filed on the issue, but the discussion has never gotten any real traction.

Just some thoughts.


At December 11, 2006 at 11:41 PM, Anonymous Down Here said...

I think that the Lite Gov's office is one that you could take or leave without noticing. But if we are going to have one, there should really be some real job for them to do, instead of them just making up as they go along.

As for the Comptroller/Treasurer thing, if you look at the state's money as one big account, we have one office collecting money and one writing checks. It has to be more efficient to combine the two offices.

At December 13, 2006 at 10:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recall Paul O'Neal quitting. What is so arduous about that job you would need to quit it for?

Please tell, who of late was not effective.

I do agree, Lt Quinn is majestic and is working hard for the citizens.

At December 14, 2006 at 2:38 AM, Anonymous Aakash said...

For those who are fan's of Lt. Gov. Quinn... There are more than a few Illinoisans who have speculated that he may assume the role of Governor, but not as late as four years from now.

At December 15, 2006 at 7:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although it may be seldom used, there needs to be a method of succession in case of death or other vacancy of the office of governor. So, yes, lieutenant governor is necessary.

The treasurer and comptroller functions are different and probably should be separate. However, I believe that the voters should elect policy decision-makers and not adminstrative types. The treasurer - comptroller functions are administrative roles and should be appointed, not electd.

At December 15, 2006 at 8:20 AM, Anonymous Way Down Here said...

There would still be a line of succession even without the LG, it would just be a little shorter.

Besides, in Illinois, aren't these things done by bloodline? :)

At December 20, 2006 at 3:52 PM, Blogger respectful said...

The LG is not necessary to establish succession. As far as combining Comprotller and Treasurer, isn't Hynes on record in favor of this?

At December 21, 2006 at 4:04 PM, Anonymous DuPage Saint said...

The Lt. Gov's office is as usefull as teats on a boar. Let the Sec. of State take over if a Gov. kicks off (and how often has that happened since 1818?) or more likely gets indicted. If you really want to bring the state into the 20th(god forbid 21st) century abolish townships and let counties handle the assessments and cheese distributions to the old folks


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