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Former Comptroller Hynes Among New McPier Board Members

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Dan Hynes

Former Illinois Comptroller and gubernatorial candidate Dan Hynes has been appointed to the board of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Former Illinois comptroller and gubernatorial candidate Dan Hynes is among the new appointees to the board of McPier, the joint City of Chicago and State of Illinois agency that oversees McCormick Place.

In a joint city-state news release Monday morning, officials announced the eight new appointees to the board, officially named the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed four new board members, of whom Hynes was one. Gov. Pat Quinn appointed four more.

Hynes is now serving as senior vice president of Ariel Investments. He served three terms as state comptroller from 1999 through 2011, and ran an acrimonious campaign against Quinn in the Democratic gubernatorial primary in 2010.

Most notoriously in January 2010, Hynes’ campaign ran an attack ad showing archival footage of the late Mayor Harold Washington, speaking in 1987 about firing Quinn as city revenue director. The clip shows Washington calling Quinn “a totally and completely undisciplined individual.”

Critics were quick to point out that Dan Hynes’ own father, former Cook County Assessor Thomas Hynes, had been a harsh critic of Mayor Washington and had run against him in 1987 on the Chicago First Party ticket.

Mayor Emanuel also appointed Frank Clark Jr., the retired chairman and chief executive officer of ComEd, to the board. Clark retired last month after 46 years with ComEd, an subsidiary of Chicago-based Exelon.

Mayor Emanuel also appointed the attorney Roger J. Kiley Jr., of the firm Mayer, Brown LLP, who served as chief of staff to retired Mayor Richard M. Daley in the 1990s; and Julie Chavez, the senior vice president and community relations manager for Bank of America in Chicago.

Quinn appointed Carmen Lonstein, a partner in the Chicago office of Baker and McKenzie, and chair of the Financial Restructuring, Creditors’ Rights and Bankruptcy Practice Group in North America. He also appointed Ronald Powell, international vice president of the United Food and Commercial Workers union; Ronald G. Reiter Jr., secretary-treasurer of the Chicago Federation of Labor; and Becky Strzechowski, secretary-treasurer and assistant trustee of Teamsters Local 700 in Park Ridge.

The eight new members will join former McDonald’s Corp. executive Jack Greenberg, who was selected by Mayor Emanuel last month to head up the board.

The appointments come in the wake of an overhaul in the management of McCormick Place, after several conventions pulled out of McCormick Place in the fall of 2009. Conventioneers complained that union fees were too high, and there were too many different unions, jurisdictions and work rules involved in the setup process.

Last year, suburban Philadelphia-based SMG Management Inc. was picked to operate McCormick Place privately, ending the direct operation of the convention complex by McPier.

In 2010, Mayor Daley said McCormick Place should be privatized altogether, arguing such a move would cut costs.

McPier also used to be responsible for the oversight of Navy Pier, but handed over operation of the renowned tourist attraction to a newly-formed not-for-profit corporation in January.

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