Director of Illinois' Abraham Lincoln museum resigns

AP News
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Posted: Oct 16, 2015 7:13 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum resigned Friday following years of disagreements with the head of the Illinois agency that oversees the museum.

Gov. Bruce Rauner said in a statement that he had accepted Eileen Mackevich's resignation. He said a national search is underway for her replacement.

The resignation signals a shake-up at the Springfield museum and the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, where tensions and other organizational problems have led to proposals to separate the two entities, legislative hearings and a review by an independent panel of experts.

During a hearing called by lawmakers last year, officials at the museum's foundation said spats between Mackevich and preservation agency Director Amy Martin were leading to a drop in donations. One lawmaker compared them to "kids that can't get along."

The disputes were over issues such as filling staff vacancies and the delay of a strategic plan for the museum.

Mackevich didn't respond to a phone message from The Associated Press seeking comment on Friday. She told The (Springfield) State Journal-Register that the Republican governor "suggested he wanted to go in a different direction."

Mackevich is a friend of influential Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, a Chicago Democrat, and she has previously said she's approached him about the disagreements.

Madigan proposed the legislation to divide the 10-year-old museum and the agency that oversees Illinois historic sites. But he's said the motivation for the bill is that he believes the museum is being held back because the agency must approve its operations. He denied he was motivated by his friendship with Mackevich.

Rauner named museum Chief of Staff Nadine O'Leary to serve as acting director.