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Quinn's CTA Nominee Backs Away From Consideration

By Chuck Sudo in News on Aug 13, 2013 9:40PM

Thornton Township supervisor Frank Zuccarelli.
Thornton Township Supervisor and political power broker Frank Zuccarelli withdrew his name from consideration as Gov. Pat Quinn’s suburban appointee to Chicago Transit Authority’s board of directors Tuesday after vocal criticism of holding two government jobs simultaneously from RTA board chairman John Gates and Quinn’s opponent in next year’s Democratic gubernatorial primary, Bill Daley.

Zuccarelli delivered a letter to Quinn announcing his decision and blamed it on “political grandstanding” from Daley, in particular.

“Given the events of recent weeks, I do not want political grandstanding to distract from the critical issues or stand in the way of what people in the south suburbs need,” wrote Zuccarelli, who also is Thornton Township Democratic committeeman.

“Therefore, it is with great regret that I ask you to withdraw my appointment to the CTA Board effective immediately,” he wrote.

Quinn appointed Zuccarelli to be the suburban representative to CTA’s board two weeks ago, saying “it's important to have someone on the CTA board that stands up for the South Suburbs.” But Quinn may also have been motivated by the political army Zuccarelli commands as Quinn sets his sights on seeking re-election in 2014. Daley, whose endorsement by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg eases his ability to raise campaign cash, released a statement to media after Zuccarelli announced his withdrawal. “Frank Zuccarelli had little choice but to do the honorable thing by resigning today, it's unfortunate that Governor Quinn put him in this position in the first place.”

Gates said Zuccarelli’s appointment to CTA’s board was against a state law forbidding people from holding two state jobs simultaneously. Quinn said the law didn’t apply to Zuccarelli since his role as Thornton Township Supervisor was not a statewide job. Zuccarelli, a notorious double dipper, told Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown his appointment was merely “working simultaneously” and that he was looking to squirrel away the $25,000 annual stipend for retirement purposes.

Quinn thanked Zucarelli in a statement but made no mention of the double dipping controversy.

“I felt he would have brought an important perspective to the CTA Board, which has all too often left this region behind when it came to important transportation access issues,” the governor said.