As governor arrested, CCI head cites need for focus on common good

In the wake of the arrest of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Tuesday, the executive director of the Catholic Conference of Illinois said that “most public servants in Illinois are good and decent people called to serve for the right reasons,” but that “temptations are out there.”

“We have seen too many examples of people of good will falling short when tempted,” said Bob Gilligan on Wednesday from the CCI offices in Chicago.

In a telephone interview with The Catholic Post, Gilligan said that if Gov. Blagojevich does not resign and the state’s focus turns to impeachment, “a cloud could hang over Springfield for quite a period of time.”

Calls for the governor to resign mounted on Wednesday as a corruption scandal continued to unfold. Gov. Blagojevich was arrested by federal agents on Tuesday, accused in a 76-page criminal complaint of offenses including seeking money or other favors to influence his choice in picking the U.S. Senate replacement for President-elect Barack Obama.

“Temptations are everywhere,” said Gilligan, but some in public life are under the illusion they are “private matters.”

“When in public service, everything is a public matter,” he said.

“In his administration there have been so many instances where his policies were arbitrary, capricious, and came out of left field,” said Gilligan.

Gilligan said he hopes there will be more emphasis on the common good in politics instead of policies that advance individualism.

“It’s a significant problem in our culture, and the General Assembly does reflect our culture, good and bad.”

While saying the future of state leadership is “anybody’s guess,” Gilligan said that “if we had a change in the style of the governor’s office, that would be positive.”

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