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The Southern Illinoisan - Local - PIPER LANDS STATE LABOR BOARD SEAT
SPRINGFIELD --- After vacating his position as a Williamson County Commissioner and then being soundly defeated last April in his bid to become Williamson County Clerk, Rex Piper has landed squarely on his feet in Springfield. Piper
, of Energy, was one of five people appointed by Gov.
will be paid $79,779 annually in his
Blagojevich, who received generous financial support from unions during his campaign to become governor, appointed Piper
along with several people with either current or former union ties to the board that oversees labor disputes.
...Along with Piper, who serves as UMWA District 12 secretary-treasurer, four of those named by the governor are either currently or formerly employed by unions.Piper also served as a UMWA compensation counselor from 1991 to 2000.
...Piper, a Democrat, served for six years as a commissioner on the Williamson County Board, but gave up his seat to challenge incumbent Republican Saundra Jent in last April's consolidated election.
Jent has worked in the clerk's office in various capacities for more than 25 years, starting as a part-time employee for longtime clerk Barnie Boren.In Octobert 2001 the Williamson
County Board appointed Jent to replace Boren who died after a long battle with cancer.
Jent surprised many that thought the race would be close by notching an easy win, defeating Piper
8,742 votes to 5,214 votes.
The Southern Illinoisan
But Williamson County Commissioner Rex Piper, who also is secretary for United Mine Workers District 12 and a former workers compensation officer, said he thought the violence resulted because the work was being performed by an out-of-state firm. The Williamson County Board
had negotiated recently with Duke Energy concerning work on the pipeline.One of the board's concerns was whether local laborers would be hired, Piper
"We do that with every project that comes along . . . and we commend all the companies who do hire local workers for their projects," Piper
said."Those companies who do have bragged about our local people.I feel personally . . . that every employer should hire local people." Piper
suggested such potential powder kegs -- hiring non-local workers for local projects -- should be defused before they begin.He
also said that ways to prevent incidents like Friday's attack should be addressed.
"Otherwise, it's a no-win situation," he
said."We have to get this resolved so we can finish this project and move on to the next one."
After the incident, a swarm of state police officers and Williamson County
sheriff's deputies gathered at King Tut's gas station in the Lake of Egypt community south of Marion.When questioned, state troopers would say only that they were conducting an investigation.
Later, at the site of the incident, a sheriff's deputy could be seen, seemingly on patrol.
Illinois AFL-CIO - Key Events/Information
Rex Piper, secretary-treasurer for the UMWA District Council 12 and Letitia Taylor, a former director for AFSCME, were also named to the state panel.
Herrin, Illinois : Civic Pride : City Hall
Southern Illinois History
Others mentioned include Williamson County Sheriff Tom Cundiff, former Williamson County Board Chairman Rex Piper and area businessman and former legislative primary candidate Carl Ortale, who's considering a run in the GOP primary if the Democrats don't slate him.