Rebuttal from Senate President John Cullerton’s Office

Apparently my little article on State Senator Dan Duffy’s impeachment speech and parking space relocation found its way to Springfield.

And, from the reaction from Senate President John Cullerton’s office, I guess I didn’t pay enough attention to the coverage of the foregone conclusion of the Senate impeachment of Governor Rod Blagojevich on January 29, 2009.

The reporter working under then-Daily Herald Springfield Bureau Chief John Patterson, Nicole Milstead, wrote a story, the headline of which you see here.

Apparently, newly-sworn-in State Senator Dan Duffy’s speech was noticed in one paper covering his district.

There was even a follow-up blog interview by the same reporter, which is a little over two minutes long.

Patterson, who now works for Cullerton as Assistant Press Secretary, wrote me,

“Attached is a pdf of the Feb. 4, 2009, Senate session transcript, downloaded from the General Assembly’s public website. This is when President Cullerton made the parking assignment comments. The relevant segments are on the bottom of page 14 and top of 15 (the last two pages). This was in open session, broadcast on the speaker system and was days after the Blagojevich vote.

“The parking situation as explained in the transcript and story was this: There are 37 Democrats and 22 Republicans. Spaces were allocated based on seniority within each caucus. The result was Sen. Duffy, the junior most member, had a better spot than more than a dozen veteran Democrats.

“It wasn’t some private threat from the Senate President. He made the announcement regarding parking spot changes on the speaker system during public session of the Illinois Senate. The Duffy line was thrown in as an attempt at humor.

Dan Duffy

“At the time, Duffy took it as such, according to his comments to the Daily Herald in the above stories:

‘The Lake Barrington lawmaker took it in stride, saying he doesn’t think there’ll be any payback for his blunt impeachment trial commentary.

‘I don’t think anyone is that petty here in the Senate,’ Duffy said.

“One final thing, keep in mind that while John Cullerton is a veteran lawmaker, he’s been Senate President the same amount of time Sen. Duffy has been a state Senator. His first action as Senate President was to remove Rod Blagojevich from office.“

The relevant part of the transcript of the Senate’s February 4th’s proceedings follows:

“I understand that both caucuses will be having dinner tonight and get to know the staff better. At least that’s what we’re going to do on the—on the–Democratic side.

“Also I have a–another announcement.

Senate President John Cullerton

“You know the other day during the impeachment trial and my mind, my memory was triggered when Senator Duffy actually was speaking, because Senator Duffy is the youngest member of the Republican side that we made a mistake when we assigned parking spaces.

“And what was—just to explain it—we went Democrat, Republican, Democrat, Republican and then, of course, after we assigned Senator Duffy – he was the last one – we had thirteen more, fourteen more Democrats, who then got spaces further away than Senator Duffy.

“So, what we’re going to do is redo it based on seniority and leadership of all fifty-nine of us.

“And I think that would result in, for example, Senator Duffy, he’ll be in a different parking space than he is now – might a bit further down the driveway than he is now.

“But it’ll be done in a fair way based on seniority and leadership.

“So, just wanted to warn you that’s – we’re going to be correcting that mistake we made.”

I told John that his boss should know that humor almost never works in politics.

Even though his humor on the House floor when we served together often had me in stitches.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.