Thursday, February 28, 2008

Illinois Ag Director Hartke to Retire

It's being reported that Illinois Director of Agriculture Chuck Hartke is going to retire effective this week. Hartke has been Director of Agriculture for Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich since 2003. Hartke who is a farmer from Effingham County, was a long time member of the Illinois House of Representatives before becoming the Ag Director.

Hartke has had a tough job as director with a Governor's administration that is under federal investigation and had cut funding to the department several times. In 2005 the administration proposed implementing several taxes and fee's on agriculture that brought loud outrage from the farming community and others.

Hartke's decision was based on the need to care for his wife who is undergoing chemo therapy:

He said he leaves the job, which pays $128,394 annually, with mixed emotions.

“I have made a lot of friends,” he said, but there remains much to do, and there is “always going to be lots of work to be done in agriculture, lots of challenges every day.”

Hartke, a former president of the Effingham County Pork Producers, served in the House starting in 1985 and later befriended another member, Chicagoan Rod Blagojevich, who became governor in 2003. Once in the state’s top office, Blagojevich named Hartke to run the agriculture department.

“This is a dream come true,” Hartke said in 2003 after the Senate confirmed his appointment. “I always thought I could provide leadership for the farmers of Illinois.”

Hartke said he thinks that during his tenure, “I have promoted agriculture in the state of Illinois and have provided safe food for the people of the state. Our meat-inspection program is great. Our weights and measures is going well.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"The meat inspection program is great"
That's the biggest crock I've ever heard. In 2004 the Regional Administrator of Chicago was investigated by the State and FBI and found guilty.
The Chicago area supervisors have been under investigation for months if not years. The union is sleeping with the Department.
Allegedly Hartke and his crew in the meat inspection program are abandoning ship. His secretary left over a year ago. The union president left a year ago. The bureau chief is rumored to be leaving on Hartke's heels. Another senior secretary left.
They are short of inspectors and have six compliance officers to cover the entire state.
It's just not as rosey as he puts on. And he watched it all happen and protected his incompetent minions.