Florida toll agency doesn't hire Illinois tollway executive

  • Kristi Lafleur

      Kristi Lafleur Mark Black | Staff Photographer, May 2011

Updated 5/14/2015 2:12 PM

A Florida toll agency chose an internal candidate as its new chief out of a field that included Illinois tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur. The Illinois tollway is in flux with a new governor in place and five out of nine board directors with terms that expired May 1. Gov. Bruce Rauner has authority to appoint directors. The Orlando Sentinel had reported Lafleur was a finalist for the top spot at the Central Florida Expressway Authority.

The Florida tollway board chose Laura Kelley, deputy executive director for finance and administration, as its new executive director Thursday morning. Lafleur did not confirm reports regarding the Florida job. She was hired in 2010 after serving as former Gov. Pat Quinn's deputy chief of staff for economic development and transportation initiatives. Rauner hasn't indicated what his plans are for the tollway board or its administrators, although it's expected he will put his own stamp on the agency. Quinn appointed the current board. Directors whose terms ended May 1 are Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner, Chicago Heights Mayor David Gonzalez, banker Mark Peterson of Lincolnshire, DuPage County Forest Preserve Commissioner Jeffrey Redick and Shorewood businessman Terrence D'Arcy. The new governor's wishes were felt at the tollway April 23, when board directors reversed a 21-year-old agreement that required contractors to hire union workers. Rescinding the agreement reflected the wishes of Rauner, who is trying to reduce organized labor's influence in the state. The tollway's massive building program, Move Illinois, was strongly supported by labor unions when it was instituted in 2011. Paid for with a toll increase, projects include extending the Elgin-O'Hare Expressway (Route 390) east to O'Hare International Airport and widening the Jane Addams Tollway (I-90).

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