Edgar's Appointments Show Gender Imbalance

Article excerpt

Byline: Madeleine Doubek Daily Herald Political Editor

About one-third of the appointments Gov. Jim Edgar makes to hundreds of state boards and commissions go to suburban residents, while twice as many men get the posts than women, a study released Monday found.

An analysis of little scrutinized state panels by Illinois Issues magazine, a monthly public affairs periodical, found a dozen GOP county chairmen, a dozen former legislators and several former aides to the governor and his predecessor, Jim Thompson, were among Edgar's appointments during his first five years in office.

Edgar appointed twice as many men as women overall to the boards. By a 3-1 ratio, men were given salaried posts over women. The toll authority, labor relations, civil service and capital development boards are four key panels that have no women serving on them.

Edgar's spokesman Mike Lawrence said the governor was surprised to hear about the gender gap the analysis found and may work to correct it with future appointments.

"I certainly think he will take this into account," Lawrence said Monday. Noting Edgar appointed the first woman ever to oversee his budget office, Lawrence said, "I don't think any of those appointments to a board and commission is as important as the trailblazing he has done with female appointments to his own Cabinet."

The panel members - including the powerful Illinois Commerce Commission and the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority - regulate state government and several public service professions, shape policy and advise the governor on a variety of matters. In its October issue, the Springfield-based magazine reported Edgar has made more than 2,000 appointments or re-appointments to 225 boards and commissions in five years. …