State senate delays keep BOR members from seats

By Ken Goze

Delays in the state senate have kept three new Board of Regents members waiting to be seated nearly six months after their appointment.

Barbara Scheibling, James Myles and Niranjan Shah were appointed by Gov. Jim Edgar to six-year terms on the Regents, which governs NIU, in November.

Until confirmation, the appointees can attend meetings but cannot vote.

Regents Chancellor’s Assistant Cheryl Peck said Tuesday there was no word on when the trio might be confirmed.

The three have been in limbo since a Jan. 8 meeting of the Senate Committee on Executive Appointments and Veterans Affairs was delayed by a personal emergency.

The senate was in session Tuesday and will meet today and three days next week before breaking for Easter.

Unless the committee acts in that time, the three will still be on the sidelines for the April 16 meeting in Springfield. The three already missed serving as full members at meetings in January and March.

“It’s getting to be a rather ridiculous situation. This is depriving them of the opportunity to be full members,” Peck said.

She said the new members are not always appointed and confirmed immediately after old terms expire, but the delays this time are unusual.

Edgar did not name the appointees until nearly a year after the outgoing members terms expired in January 1991.

The outgoing Regents Clara Fitzpatrick, Jerome Bender and James Wright will retain their vote until the new members are confirmed, but only Bender has continued to come to meetings.

The outgoing members have 36 combined years of experience. All of the outgoing board members and their replacements are Democrats.

Peck said the new members have been familiarizing themselves with the Board’s operation by attending meetings and will go through a formal orientation after confirmation.

The Regents govern NIU, Illinois State University at Normal and Sangamon State University at Springfield.