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University of Illinois Trustee Seat has Been Empty a Year

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — A seat on the University of Illinois Board of Trustees has been empty now for about a year.

The board is preparing to elect new officers Thursday in Chicago. But Gov. Bruce Rauner has yet to choose an appointee for the seat vacated last January, the News-Gazette reported .

“Our administration is still in the process of considering candidates for this vacancy,” said Rachel Bold, a spokeswoman for Rauner, on Tuesday.

The terms of Democrats Patricia Brown-Holmes and Ricardo Estrada and Republican Karen Hasara expired last January. At the time, Rauner said he hoped to fill those vacancies with “superstar” talent.

The governor appointed Democrat Donald Edwards in March and Republican Stuart King in July to fill two of those seats. Edwards is a private equity investor in Chicago and King is a Christie Clinic physician in Champaign.

The board currently has four Republicans, two Democrats and two independents. State law allows up to five of the nine trustees to be from the same political party. Three student trustees are also elected each year, and one has an official vote.

The board has been able to approve budgets, hire coaches and administrators, and conduct other matters despite the vacancy. But “we’re anxious to see the vacancy filled” to ensure quorums and a trustee presence at university events throughout Illinois, said Tim Killeen, president of the University of Illinois System.

“It’s certainly more difficult with the smaller number than it would be if it were a full complement,” Killeen said.

Killeen said he recently checked with Rauner’s staff and isn’t expecting any announcement before Thursday’s meeting.

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