I am back in the saddle after a vacation with my family and a short medical leave. I am sorry
to report back to you that after this time off, nothing has changed regarding the state budget
But some changes have occurred:
Greg Fenton was appointed as the Director of the Division of Developmental Disabilities.
Ronnie Cohn assumed the role as the new Ligas Court Monitor.
The town of Watseka was under water forcing some of The Arc’s residents to vacate
their homes! I must add that they have now returned to their homes.
The personal care allowance for individuals in community living options was cut!
Governor Rauner vetoed the state budget sent to him that passed the General
Families, human service providers and legislators are all frustrated with the lack of progress
on passing a state budget. After the Governor’s veto of the budget sent to him by the General
Assembly, we are back to square one with no relief in sight. It is clear that the Governor and
the Legislative Leaders are now engaged in a standoff that neither side intends to back away
from. What we need as soon as possible is a responsible state budget that includes new
revenue. I encourage you to talk to your State Representatives about the impact this budget
predicament is having on your family or your organization. Your representatives can be visited
with an appointment in their local district offices.
This week I will be meeting with Director Fenton, Director Romano and Ronnie Cohn, the
new Ligas Court Monitor Ronnie Cohn (see Ronnie’s bio below).
From Director Fenton:
As many of you know, Tony Records had indicated his intent to retire as the Ligas Court
Monitor on June 30, 2015. He was also committed to assisting the parties to identify a worthy
successor. I am pleased to announce that Ronnie Cohn has assumed the role of Ligas Court
Monitor effective July 1. The District Court entered an order last week approving her
Ronnie brings a wealth of knowledge and national experience to the table. She began her
career as an educator in a New York City day center and progressed to serve as director of
Brooklyn Adult Day Treatment Centers. She has consulted on issues involving transition of
students who have severe disabilities from school to integrated adult living and working.
Ronnie evaluated community and institutional services and identified areas of non-compliance
with the Willowbrook Consent Judgment as a staff member of the Willowbrook Office of the
Special Master. She has consulted on consent decrees in Connecticut and California and
served as an Independent Expert Consultant in New York, Tennessee and California. She is
presently a Consultant to the Court Monitor in Jensen v. Minnesota Department of Human
Services and continues to serve as an Expert Consultant to the Quality Review Panel in
People First v. Clover Bottom et. al in Tennessee. Ronnie has vast experience in the
evaluation processes for transitioning individuals from institutional settings to community
In order to facilitate communication with her on all Ligas-related matters, Ronnie has
created the following e-mail address: Ligas.email@example.com. Please use that address
for purposes of communication with her. The Illinois Department of Human Services and
the Division of Developmental Disabilities looks forward to working with her in this role.
Tony Paulauski Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423