CHICAGO | An influential Cook County Democrat whose appointment to the Chicago Transit Authority board sparked controversy for Gov. Pat Quinn is withdrawing from the post.
In a letter to Quinn, Thornton Township Supervisor Frank Zuccarelli says he was looking forward to serving Chicago's south suburbs. But he says he doesn't want "political grandstanding" to distract from critical issues or stand in the way of south suburban needs.
Quinn appointed Zuccarelli to the $25,000-a-year position in June.
Last week former White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley blasted the appointment. Daley is challenging Quinn in the 2014 Democratic primary. Daley called it political patronage and said it violated at least the spirit of a law prohibiting CTA board members from holding government jobs.
Quinn denied the appointment was improper.
"I want to thank Frank Zuccarelli for his service to the south suburbs and our country, and his willingness to serve on the Chicago Transit Authority Board," Quinn said in a statement.
"Frank is a military veteran who has fought hard throughout his career to improve life for everyday people in our state and the south suburban region.
"As someone who grew up in the south suburbs, attended South Suburban College, and went on to serve as an elected leader of Thornton Township, Frank is a strong representative of the Southland area.
"I felt he would have brought an important perspective to the CTA Board, which has all too often left this region behind when it came to important transportation access issues.
"I accept Frank's decision and will soon announce his replacement."