As of member of the bi-partisan and bi-cameral Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COFGA), I routinely attend hearings and make recommendations to the legislature and Governor Quinn regarding important policy decisions for the Illinois.
You may have read in the news that Governor Quinn is proposing to close seven state facilities due to lack of funding. Before he can proceed with the closures, COGFA has the task of holding public hearings and then recommending whether closing seven state-operated facilities in Illinois is a sound economic decision. The facilities include: Tinley Park Mental Health Center, Singer Mental Health Center, Illinois Youth Center – Murphysboro, Chester Mental Health Center, Jack Mabley Developmental Center, Jacksonville Developmental Center, and Logan Correctional Center.
These are difficult decisions. If these facilities are closed, some citizens will lose access to important services and others will become unemployed. That has to be balanced, however, with the requirement that state government live within its means.
A few years ago, COGFA recommended closing the Howe Developmental Center (servicing the developmentally disabled) based on the unsettling information that patients were not treated properly and lived in unsanitary conditions. Since then, all patients have been transitioned to other homes, thus improving their quality of life.
Over the next three weeks, I will be traveling the full length of Illinois to gather all information I can at the hearings and tours to make an educated recommendation on whether to close these facilities. If you have input or ideas regarding these closures, please let me know.
For more information on the proposed closings and a complete list of hearings, please visit the COGFA website athttp://www.ilga.gov/commission/cgfa2006/Resource.aspx?id=7.