Schoenburg: District 186 school board president loses state job

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Springfield School Board President Scott McFarland has ended his run as executive director of the Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service.

McFarland, 37, a married father of three, has worked for the commission since 2006 and was named its executive director in 2014 by then-Gov. Pat Quinn.

"It’s an at-will position, so the governor has the ability to decide who they want," McFarland said of the $95,000-a-year post, adding that he’s not upset. "I had a great time working with the commission, and I’m looking forward to what’s next."

McFarland has been elected twice to the District 186 board. He served from 2011 to 2015, and ran again in 2019, when he was unopposed. He was chosen by colleagues on the board to his current year-long term as board president early this year. He lost a race for Springfield Ward 4 alderman in 2015.

School board elections are officially nonpartisan, though McFarland is a Democratic precinct committeeman. Interestingly, he kept the job during the term of GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner, but has now lost it under Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker.

In his job, McFarland oversaw about 1,700 AmeriCorps members and supported thousands of others involved in community service. Including grants, he said his commission had a budget of about $18 million.

"We really worked to expand service around the state," McFarland said of his time at the commission. "With the AmeriCorps program we … came close to tripling the amount of programming. … And that comes from just a lot of people doing a lot of good things."

There’s no word yet on a replacement.

Candidates get endorsement

The Springfield and Central Illinois Trades and Labor Council has endorsed some local candidates – mostly Democrats and an unopposed Republican.

Among those endorsed are Democrat Mike Drake for state’s attorney over incumbent Republican Dan Wright, and for Sangamon County Board, Democrat Drew Burnett over incumbent Annette Fulgenzi in District 17; Democrat Kevin McGuire over incumbent Republican Lisa Hills in District 23; Democrat Monte Kay Turner Jones over incumbent Republican Jason Ratts in District 10; Democrat Nick Dodson over incumbent George Preckwinkle in District 25; Democrat Patricia Hayes over incumbent Ryan Melchin in District 28; and incumbent Democrat Vera Small over Republican Ernesto Johnson in District 19.

Also endorsed was incumbent Republican James Schackmann in District 11. He is unopposed.

Jones is daughter of Sangamon County Democratic Chair Doris Turner, who is also Springfield’s Ward 3 alderwoman. McGuire is the son-in-law of Bill Houlihan, a member of the Democratic State Central Committee from Springfield.

The county board has 24 Republicans to five Democrats. Board Chairman Andy Van Meter, who represents District 24 and who is not up for re-election, said he was "sorry to see the endorsements are so one-sided.

"We have the highest respect for local organized labor and will continue our good working relationship," Van Meter said.

Drake also has the endorsement of U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, of Springfield, who called him "the ideal individual to lead this crucial office."

Incumbent Republican State’s Attorney Wright has a variety of people and organizations endorsing him. An incomplete list includes Sangamon County Farm Bureau, Central Illinois Building and Construction Trades Council, Laborers Local 477, Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 137, Operating Engineers Local 965, former Springfield Mayor Karen Hasara, former state Sen. Larry Bomke, Sangamon County Sheriff Jack Campbell and former Sheriff Neil Williamson, former U.S. Attorney Bill Roberts, three retired judges and educator Carolyn Blackwell.

Contact Bernard Schoenburg: Bernard.schoenburg@sj-r.com, 788-1540, twitter.com/bschoenburg

via The State Journal-Register

October 2, 2020 at 06:40PM

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