Timely exit for untimely nominee
It's not too much to ask that people holding important jobs in government be beyond reproach.
Did he jump? Or was he pushed?
Whatever the answer to those questions, Arthur Bishop's decision to resign from his position as head of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is good news. An individual of his background is ill-suited to serve in any position of importance in government, let alone as the head of agency whose charge is to protect the interests of children.
Bishop was nominated, but not yet confirmed by the Illinois Senate, to lead DCFS by Gov. Pat Quinn. But recent news reports by the Chicago Sun-Times raised serious questions about Bishop's fitness.
For starters, in the early 1990s he was linked to the theft of nearly $10,000 from clients at a social service agency, alleged behavior that led to his firing and a subsequently guilty plea to a misdemeanor theft charge.
If that wasn't enough, it turns out the Bishop had a child out of wedlock with whom he had little contact and provided no support for most of her life.
Gov. Quinn initially stood by his man, arguing that Bishop is well suited to lead this deeply troubled agency. Bishop's personal credentials may lend themselves to the position. But character speaks volumes, and Bishop's past transgressions spoke poorly of this nomination.
Bishop's resignation took effect Friday, and he made it clear in his resignation letter that he feels ill-used.
"I am aware that we are in the midst of an election year, and that my documented accomplishments, dedication and almost 20 years of exemplary work are in this environment simply irrelevant," he wrote.
Actually, it was Bishop's "documented accomplishments" that derailed his nomination. Bishop also made it clear that he believes attacks on him were thinly veiled attacks on Quinn, and he was correct when he said that "I believe this is an effort to besmirch the governor." But Bishop was wrong in suggesting people outside the Quinn administration were involved.
This was an effort, certainly unwitting, by Quinn to besmirch Quinn. Critics were on solid ground when they wondered why Quinn would nominate someone so ill-suited to this important post.
But Bishop is gone now, and people will forget he ever was there. That's good both for Illinois and Quinn.