Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Controversial director gets new job

By Jamey Dunn

A member of Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration whose appointment has been a continued point of controversy was named to a different office today.

Jonathon Monken, who has served as acting director of the Illinois State Police, was named director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.

A former U.S. Army captain and decorated war veteran, Monken led more than 100 combat missions in Iraq as a tank platoon leader without losing any soldiers under his command.

After Quinn named Monken, then 29, to direct the Illinois State Police in 2009, some legislators balked at his lack of law enforcement experience. His appointment has remained in limbo, and he was on a list of appointees held over from the last General Assembly that Senate President John Cullerton asked Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka to stop paying. That request arose during a dispute between Quinn and the Senate about whether such employees had a legal right to their positions.

“I salute and thank Jon Monken for his service to the Illinois State Police, which he has led with honor and distinction – most recently during a major winter storm,”Quinn said in a written statement. “His strong leadership on the battlefield and in keeping Illinoisans safe makes him perfectly suited for preparing our state for disasters and helping us recover from their aftermath.”

Patrick Keen deputy director for the division of administration for the Illinois State Police, was tapped to take Monken’s place as interim director. Joseph Klinger, current interim Emergency Management Agency director, will return to his previous job as the agency’s assistant director. Monken will have to go through the standard appointment process and be approved by the Senate for the new position.

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