The Commission on Government Forecasting & Accountability (COGFA) voted not to support the closing of Jacksonville Developmental Center by a vote of 7-4. Those voting to supporting the closure of Jacksonville were Senators Schoenberg, Trotter and Frerichs and Representative Nekritz. Those opposing the closing were Senators Schmidt, Syverson and Representatives Bellock, McCarthy, Poe, Riley and Tryon.The other recommended closures were also not supported by COGFA which included votes on the Logan Correctional Center and Tinley Park Mental Health Center. While voting not to support the closures, many of the members of COGFA realized the importance of re-balancing the Disability System and hope to see a plan with more reasonable time frames for closing state institutions.
To date, COGFA has not supported any of the seven closures recommended by the Governor, including the Mabley Developmental Center in Dixon.
The COGFA vote is advisory to the Governor.
As you already know, the Governor unvailed a new closure plan yesterday calling for the closing of four State Developmental Centers and two Mental Health Centers. The Arc supports this new initiative. We believe it has more reasonable time frames for closing which should result in a better transition for the people living in those state institutions which have yet to be named.
At this time COGFA has not been requested to consider this new initiative.
Special thanks to Arc Board Member Susy Woods for covering and reporting on the COGFA hearing this morning!
Story from the Jacksonville Courier follows on the Governor’s new initiative for closing four state institutions follows.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn speaks with reporters in his office at the Illinois State Capitol Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011 in Springfield, Ill. An ambitious fall veto session is under way at the Illinois Capitol and Quinn says proposed changes haven’t weakened his opposition to legislation that would raise electricity rates. (AP
Facing general disapproval of his plan to shutter seven state facilities, Gov. Pat Quinn is now presenting a long-term idea to close some state facilities.
While not explicitly targeting the Jacksonville Developmental Center, a “rebalancing initiative” being put forward by the governor outlines a plan to close up to four developmental centers and at least two mental health facilities in the next two-and-a-half years. It would also move at least 600 residents of developmental centers into community settings.
This plan is being circulated among members of the General Assembly just before Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability makes its advisory votes on the final three of seven facilities proposed for closure. But the governor says it’s not a new plan.
Brie Callahan, spokeswoman for the governor’s office, said this approach is what has been Quinn’s preference from the start and a plan that might be implemented if funds are reallocated to keep the seven facilities open.
“The document represents the administration’s long-term plan for the most safe, responsible transition to community care and facility closure,” she said. “This would be our long-term plan if, after working collaboratively with the General Assembly, we are able achieve a reallocation of funds to allow us to operate facilities for the rest of this fiscal year.”
She said if funds are not reallocated, the governor will be forced to follow through with his plan to close seven state facilities.
Quinn has in the past said the General Assembly has not provided enough funding in the budget to keep all DHS facilities open and it needs to reallocate about $140 million to keep them all open for another fiscal year.
Dan Long, COGFA executive director, said the long-term plan has never been brought up or discussed throughout the entire process it has to follow for facility closures.
“I don’t know what this thing is. It’s something they’re throwing it out there at the eleventh hour,” Long said. “Some of the people from DHS maybe has gone around and talked about whatever this is to some of our members … but COGFA has never had a meeting on it. It’s not been presented to us.”
The governor’s rebalancing initiative follows several steps which would be initiated in the 2012 fiscal year.
The plan involves selecting one of the state’s eight developmental centers for closure and halting admissions. Assessment of all residents and development of transition care plans would begin in December and 20 residents a month would be transferred starting in January until the first developmental center is able to be closed. The process would then repeat until up to four centers are closed.
On Oct. 27, COGFA cast votes against closing a juvenile detention center in Murphysboro, a developmental center in Dixon and mental health facilities in Chester and Rockford.
At 8 a.m. today, the commission will vote on closure of Jacksonville’s facility as well as a correctional facility in Lincoln and a mental health center in Tinley Park.
These votes are advisory and not incumbent on Quinn.