The governor’s pick to head the Illinois Department of Agriculture says he’s staying busy, enjoying himself, and not worrying much about whether senators confirm him. Bob Flider, a former Decatur-area lawmaker, was appointed two months ago and says he’s had a great time familiarizing himself with the staff and responsibilities.
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“One of the highlights was sitting with the governor’s export advisory council,” says Flider. “We had people like Doug Oberhelman of Caterpillar, Daniel Ustian of Navistar … coal companies, food companies, those people whose livelihoods would depend on increasing exports and business.” Flider says he’s meeting with lawmakers, particularly the senators on the Executive Appointments Committee. “I just want them to be able to ask me questions,” Flider says. “What I would hope folks would see is perhaps my approval will be tied to my performance as (acting) director.” News of the governor’s choice of Flider brought some criticism, as Flider was one of the outgoing lawmakers who, in the waning minutes of the last General Assembly in January 2011, approved a last-minute income tax increase. Some of those lawmakers have since received appointments from the governor for positions in the administration.