Monica Brackman

Monica Brackman, pictured here in 2016 was the executive director of the World Shooting and Recreational Complex for the past 4.5 years. She stepped down due to the state re-classifying the position. The state is seeking a new director.

As the result of a revision of hiring practices by the State of Illinois, Sparta’s World Shooting and Recreational Complex will have a new executive director. Monica Brackman, who served in that capacity for 4.5 years, has stepped down.

The change in hiring practices is statewide, not limited to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. A decision in the U.S. District Court of Illinois' Eastern Division, Michael L. Shakman, Paul M. Lurie, et al. vs. the Democratic Organization of Cook County et al., changed a number of positions in Illinois from political appointees to coded positions, jobs that are filled through the normal hiring process.

The judgment included “a preliminary list of positions under the jurisdiction of the Governor which they agree are appropriately exempt from competitive selection and should be completely at-will because the positions are ones for which an employer may take into account political consideration when deciding whom to hire, promote, or transfer to fill positions.”

That decision was handed down last January.

“This isn’t just an IDNR thing,” said agency spokesperson Rachel Torbert. “It’s gone across state agencies. Here at DNR we have had some positions that have gone from exempt to coded, and the other way too. There has only been one total, the only in in Southern Illinois has been the shooting complex.”

She added that the job of the director had changed since Brackman arrived. And, the duties at the shooting complex differ greatly from site superintendents at state parks and state fish and wildlife areas.

“It was an appointed position that was reclassified by CMS (Central Management Services),” Torbert said. “Moving forward that is how it will go, unless things change again.”

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She added the state is moving to get a new executive director in place as quickly as possible.

Brackman had been at the shooting complex since April 2015. She was named interim executive director of the complex in early 2016. The interim label was removed in August of 2016.

Performance was not a factor with her leaving the position. The move to change the status of exempt and coded positions actually began during the Rauner administration.

“From overcoming challenges following the budget impasse to her work to make the World Shooting and Recreational Complex a world-renowned draw for shooting sports, Monica’s impact can’t be overstated,” said Colleen Callahan, IDNR director. “We want to thank her for her service as she pursues new challenges and opportunities. “For our part, we hope to continue to build on her good work, keeping the World Shooting and Recreational Complex a focal point in Southern Illinois.”

“Over the past four and a half years, the World Shooting and Recreational Complex has seen many challenges and changes,” Brackman said. “I’m extremely pleased with the tasks outlined in the strategic plans presented for the complex this past August, and with that document, I’m sure the site will continue to flourish.

“I am forever grateful for the relationships I have cultivated over the last years and will continue to support and encourage the complex from a different capacity moving forward.”

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