Mark Doyle has been hired by the Dept. of Human Services to coordinate the closings of the developmental and mental health centers ordered by the Governor. Mark is the CEO of Everyone Is Welcome. We look forward to working with Mark on his important work.I am on my way to Pontiac this morning to meet with our Exec’s in the Executive Forum. Today our major topic is the Ligas Consent Decree and our featured speaker will the Tony Records, the Court Monitor.
Tomorrow I’m am back in Chicago. We are hosting a Health Care Reform Update for Children with Special Health Care Needs. This seminar is a product of our Family to Family Health Education Center and our Director Faye Manaster. The seminar is being held at Shriner’s Children’s Hospital.
The hearing on the closing of the Jacksonville Developmental Center is scheduled for Oct. 24th at 5:00p.m. See story below.
Public hearing set on JDC closure
But Gov. Pat Quinn’s office has said it will fight that ruling in court.
As the appeal process is ongoing, the process to close state human services and correctional facilities will continue.
In Jacksonville, a public hearing to discuss the closure of the Developmental Center has been set.
The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability will hold the hearing at 5 p.m. Oct. 24 at Illinois College’s Rammelkamp Chapel. The meeting is expected to last several hours.
The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability recently drew criticism from the Illinois division of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union on grounds that public hearings for some facility closures were rushed and held during work hours.
Rep. Jim Watson, a Jacksonville Republican, after working with his colleagues to set up the hearing in Jacksonville he was pleased with the result.
“Everybody was very accommodating,” he said. “They understand what’s at stake here.”
Watson said he was also glad to hear the arbitration order between AFSCME and Quinn, if only because it may allow more time to find a resolution.
“I think cautiously optimistic is the way we should take it but we still have to continue,” Watson said. “The state still has major budget problems. The governor is within his right to appeal and he will. If this gives us more time, we can work with him to address these issues.”
Quinn argued that he isn’t bound by his agreement with AFSCME because it was “subject to appropriations” and lawmakers have not appropriated enough money to live up to the deal.
Arbitrator Edwin Benn rejected Quinn’s position.
“The state simply must keep those contractual promises. A party is not excused from previous contractual obligations by claiming that it presently can no longer afford to meet its obligations,” Benn wrote.
Benn also emphasized that layoffs when unemployment is so high would be especially harmful.
“Employees who gave concessions to ease the State’s financial difficulties and in return were promised by the state that they had job security … [and] will, because of the state’s violation of its promises, be thrown into an economy with little chance of finding comparable employment,” he wrote.
Quinn and AFSCME agreed last year that the governor would not cut any union jobs or close state facilities until July 2012 and, in return, the union would come up with $400 million in cost-cutting measures.
Quinn and AFSCME are already battling in court over the same arbitrator’s ruling that Quinn was not allowed to cancel raises that are promised in the union’s state contract.
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