Springfield, IL. (ECWd) –
Gov. Bruce Rauner re-appointed Joel Sambursky, and appointed U.S. district court judge John Gilbert and Attorney Amy Sholar to the Board of Trustees of Southern Illinois University. Both Gilbert and Sholar appointments must be approved by the Illinois Senate.
The appointment of Judge Gilbert is an ethics violation and a violation of the SIU Board of Trustees Charter, which states that a member of the board cannot be a state or federal employee, but more important is the potential conflict of interest involved within the federal district.
Judge Gilbert is on “senior status” as a federal judge, he still has an office and staff, and as senior status can select which cases he hears. He still has jurisdiction as a federal judge in a two-judge courthouse where SIU has a couple dozen pending federal cases in that federal district court at any given time – which could create a conflict when the Court hears cases where SIU is defendant, especially in civil rights cases. Any suits against SIU always include the Board of Trustees as Defendants.
Judge Gilbert still receives his full federal salary from his lifetime appointment to the Federal District Court.
He was also reportedly a college roommate of Illinois State Senator John Cullerton while at the University of Illinois.
Southern Illinois University Charter
The Southern Illinois University Charter seems to disqualify Federal Judge Gilbert as they have listed the followings in Section 4 of the Charter:
Section 4. Compensation of Board Members: Expenses, Conflicting Interests, Restrictions on Employment
No member of the Board shall hold or be employed in or appointed to any office or place under the authority of the Board, nor shall any member of the Board be directly or indirectly interested in any contract made by the Board, nor shall he be an employee of the state or federal government. This section does not prohibit the student members of the Board from maintaining normal and official status as enrolled students or normal student employment at Southern Illinois University.
Southern Illinois University Management Act
This State Law governing SIU is subordinate to the Charter mentioned above.
According to the Southern Illinois University Management Act, 110 ILCS 520, members of the Board of Trustees cannot hold any position of employment with the university or with the State of Illinois.
"No member of the Board shall hold or be employed in or appointed to any office or place under the authority of the Board, nor shall any member of the Board be directly or indirectly interested in any contract made by the Board, nor shall he be an employee of the State Government."