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Madigan proposes shake-up at Lincoln presidential museum

SPRINGFIELD — House Speaker Michael Madigan moved Friday to shift control of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum away from a state agency in a move that was not initiated by Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration, which now controls the complex.

The Southwest Side Democrat introduced legislation removing control over the Lincoln facilities from the state Historic Preservation Agency and establishing an independent entity to oversee it.

“I just think he believes an entity as important as the Lincoln library deserves to be a stand-alone entity,” Madigan spokesman Steve Brown told Early & Often, the Chicago Sun-Times online political portal.

Brown said the move was not driven by any dissatisfaction in the management of the $145 million Lincoln library and museum, which has drawn more than 3 million visitors since opening in 2005. He praised its current executive director, Eileen Mackevich.

“From what we know of her work, it’s excellent,” Brown said.

Asked Madigan’s thoughts about the performance of the state Historic Preservation Agency chief, Amy Martin, Brown said, “I don’t know he has an opinion one way or another.”

A spokesman for Gov. Pat Quinn said his administration did not initiate the change Madigan is proposing.

“We haven’t taken a position on it,” Quinn spokesman David Blanchette said.

It was not clear whether Madigan’s move in some way relates to his push to entice President Barack Obama to locate his presidential library in Illinois.

The speaker has proposed offering $100 million in state-funded seed money to organizers of the Obama library if they agree to locate the president’s complex in his home state.

Madigan’s legislation is set for a hearing on Monday.