Secretary of State Jesse White stands by appointment of Umair Qadeer to Niles Library Board

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Secretary of State Jesse White said Oct. 25 he stands by the candidate he appointed to fill the vacancy on the Niles-Maine Library District Board and expects to see that candidate, Umair Qadeer, sworn in once the Illinois General Assembly clarifies legislation empowering the Secretary of State to make library board appointments to vacancies open for longer than three months.

White was in Niles to accept a ceremonial key to the village bestowed on him by the Niles Village Board in recognition of his long career in public service.

He said the appointment to the Niles-Maine Library board was not a decision his office had taken lightly.

“When we make an appointment to the library board, we take into consideration all that is required of the individual to not only take on the job and take on the responsibility that goes with it,” White said.

White’s office announced its selection of Qadeer for the board on Sept. 16. Qadeer had also applied to fill the vacancy left by former Trustee Olivia Hanusiak after she resigned in August 2021, and prior to that, Qadeer sat on the Des Plaines Public Library Board before moving within the Niles-Maine Library District boundaries.

After the appointment was announced, current library board Treasurer Joe Makula filed a motion for a temporary restraining order against White Sept. 21, which Cook County Circuit Court Judge Alison Conlon granted hours before Qadeer was set to be sworn in.

Shortly afterward, Conlon made the restraining order permanent, citing arguments from Makula’s attorney Daniel Kelley that the law, which Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed in May, does not apply retroactively.

State Sen. Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) speaks at a protest against the budget decisions of three members of the Niles-Maine Library District's board of trustees, Sept. 26, 2022. Murphy is sponsoring trailer legislation to clarify the intent of a law that allows Secretary of State Jesse White to make appointments to library board vacancies.

State Sen. Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) speaks at a protest against the budget decisions of three members of the Niles-Maine Library District’s board of trustees, Sept. 26, 2022. Murphy is sponsoring trailer legislation to clarify the intent of a law that allows Secretary of State Jesse White to make appointments to library board vacancies. (Caroline Kubzansky / Pioneer Press)

White’s attorney Terrence McConville said State Sen. Laura Murphy, D-Des Plaines, is sponsoring a follow-up bill in Springfield to clarify the intent of the legislation.

The trailer legislation will have an “effective immediately” date, McConville said, and the Secretary of State’s office hopes to see movement on the appointment “shortly thereafter.”

“I haven’t seen the draft yet, but we believe that the trailer bill being put forward by Senator Murphy will correct the the problems that are currently at issue,” he said.

“We feel very strongly that we did the appropriate thing,” Secretary of State spokesperson Dave Druker said.

Murphy is set to present the bill during the legislature’s November veto session.

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October 31, 2022 at 11:10AM

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