The woman appointed by Governor JB Pritzker as a “reformer” is leaving after only eleven months, according to the this press release:
Dorothy Abreu to Step Down as Tollway Chair
CHICAGO — Governor JB Pritzker accepted the resignation of Tollway Chair Dorothy Abreu, as she leaves to focus on her health challenges.
“I appreciate Dorothy’s service and dedication to both the Tollway and the people of Illinois,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Her work has undoubtedly improved our infrastructure and she is leaving the Tollway in a strong financial and operational position. I wish Dorothy and her family well.”
“The past eleven months leading the Illinois Tollway have been a tremendous journey for me,” Dorothy Abreu, Director, and Chair of the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority. “As I promised on day one, I have conducted my affairs with integrity and strived to provide transparency with all stakeholders. I am grateful for the opportunity to have helped oversee the Tollway and the more than 1,200 dedicated employees that make it great.”
Vice Chairman Jim Connolly will assume the responsibilities of the board chair until the Governor names a new permanent chair.
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The Daily Herald reports her resignation is because of “health issues.”
My memories of the Tollway go back to Governor Jim Thompson’s days.
He appointed one of the State Policemen who had provided security during his 1976 campaign.
The guy was a reformer, a real reformer.
He told me he was eliminating unnecessary employees.
In about a year, he was replaced by Thompson’s campaign finance guy.
One can only assume the Tollway was a good source of campaign contributions.
I have no reason to think Pritzker would use the Tollway for similar purposes, but there was serious conflilct, as a Chicago Tribune editorial pointed on on March 31, 2022:
Part of the editorial:
After taking office in 2019, he [Pritzker] appointed former Peoples Gas President Will Evans as the Tollway’s board chairman and backed former Chicago Housing Authority chief operating officer Jose Alvarez as the agency’s executive director. “It’s a new day for the Illinois Tollway,” Pritzker said after appointing Evans. “I’m proud to usher in a new wave of transparency and accountability at this critical agency.”
New wave of transparency and accountability? Far from it.
Evans embarked on a power grab in which he commandeered authority over the agency’s day-to-day operations as well as billions of dollars in contracts. That left Alvarez’s authority significantly weakened. Evans also voted on a hefty Tollway contract involving an engineering firm where he once worked, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Meanwhile, Alvarez made sure nine of his former CHA colleagues got well-paying jobs at the agency amounting to an overall tab of $1.3 million, the Daily Herald reported Wednesday.
Both men got their jobs after receiving strong endorsements from former ComEd lobbyist John Hooker, according to the Sun-Times. As it turns out, Hooker had his own baggage. In the fall of 2020, he joined the list of people under indictment for their alleged role in the ComEd bribery scheme that ultimately led to charges against former House Speaker Michael Madigan.
Evans stepped down in February, and Alvarez did the same last week.
And, who could forget what Governor Rod Blagojevich did
An April 27, 2008, Tribune story reported,
Among the many first-time $25,000 donors was a Chicago architectural firm that designed the newly revamped oases on the Illinois Tollway.
John Clark, a principal with Cordogan, Clark & Associates, said that the lead agency on the project, the California firm Wilton Partners, suggested Cordogan, Clark also donate to Blagojevich. Wilton itself donated $50,000 to the governor’s campaign fund on the same day. He said Wilton’s leaders asked the firm to make the donation as a way to call attention to the oases project, which at the time was moving slowly.
“Giving puts an exclamation point next to your name,” Clark said.
After the donation was made, Clark said, the project started to go more smoothly. But he said he wasn’t sure that was a direct result of the donation or whether “people were finally getting up to speed.”
He said he didn’t see the donation as a favor and believes the state was merely living up to the terms of its original agreement signed under the Ryan administration, in which Wilton has spent more than $80 million to renovate the oases and is paid by vendors renting space there.