Resolutions for 2018, Part I of II

Resolutions for 2018, Part I of II

A few suggested goals for the public and their elected officials.

With each new year, many of us make resolutions. Lose weight, travel, donate time and treasure, read more and watch TV less.

Making resolutions — that is, setting goals — is a worthy exercise. It forces us to identify activities that will make us better people.

The same process can also be applied to our community and its institutions.

For Gov. Bruce Rauner: Appoint your ninth trustee to the University of Illinois' governing board.

Last January, three members' terms expired: Democrats Patricia Brown-Holmes and Ricardo Estrada and Republican Karen Hasara.

At the time, the governor said he hoped to fill those three vacancies with "superstar" talent and that he had been interviewing high-caliber candidates.

"If we could land one or two of the individuals we are talking with," he said 11 months ago, "it would be national or international headlines."

In March, Rauner appointed a former business associate, Chicago private equity investor Donald Edwards. A Democrat and a former UI golfer, Edwards is CEO of Flexpoint Ford, a private equity firm he founded in 2005. A few years earlier, Edward was a principal at Rauner's old firm, GTCR.

In July, the governor found his next appointee living much closer to the flagship campus. Dr. Stuart King — a Christie Clinic physician and Champaign resident with three degrees from the University of Illinois — filled the second six-year opening.

That leaves one more.

Governor, by the time you go back to work this week, that board seat will have been empty for nearly a year. There are a lot of bright people in Illinois, some of whom are UI graduates. The talent pool is deep. Make a choice.

For the citizens of the Champaign school district: Get involved in Unit 4's massive five-year, six-school construction project.

One good way to add input into the process is through the Referendum Oversight Committee. At the moment, this is a six-person panel, with an engineer, an architect and a city planner among its members. School board President Chris Kloeppel said the committee met in early December and will continue to do so quarterly.

The public has two ways to be engaged in the Building for the Future process. One, the oversight committee meetings are open to the public, with comment periods included in the agendas. It's an open microphone; step up and share your thoughts. Second, people are welcome to apply to be a committee member. The committee might expand in the near term.

Regardless of if the panel grows, current members will rotate out in two to three years, and new volunteers will be needed to replace them. If interested, contact Tom Lockman, Unit 4's chief financial and legal officer, or Kloeppel.

For the Champaign County Board: Act on the recommendations from the Racial Justice Task Force.

A month ago, the task force issued its 31-point report. Now the ball is the county board's court. The board created the task force two years ago. It's time for the board members to hold up their end of the bargain and evaluate the report.

Urbana Democrat Robert King, who chairs the board's Justice and Social Services Committee, said he believes the county board won't let the recommendations gather dust.

Given the county's fiscal limitations, acting on some of the recommendations may not be practical. But others, such as releasing defendants before trial rather than holding them in the county jail, may be "low hanging fruit," as one task force said.

On Monday: More resolutions.

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