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Haste makes waste

Tuesday, Feb 25, 2014

* From an Illinois Auditor General’s report

On August 13, 2010, the Governor attended a violence prevention conclave in Roseland where ministers requested he declare a State of Emergency on the current violence problem.

Five days later, on August 18, 2010, [the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority] was informed that the Governor’s Office wanted to invest at least $20 million in violence prevention and was directed to develop a framework for the [Neighborhood Recovery Initiative] program. Less than two months later, on October 6, 2010, the Governor announced the NRI program; the program had increased to a cost of $50 million for Chicago communities.

* The Auditor General found

* Lack of Documentation on the Selection of Communities (IVPA and DHS could not locate the analysis used nor could IVPA provide any other documentation to auditors showing how Chicago communities were selected to participate in NRI)

* Lack of Due Diligence in Selection of Lead Agencies (While IVPA issued an RFP for a “Governor’s Neighborhood Recovery Plan” on September 8, 2010, to select agencies to administer the program, the RFP was only sent to those agencies recommended by aldermen five days earlier. Furthermore, auditors’ review of IVPA’s scoring of the RFP submissions identified numerous deficiencies, including evaluation forms with inconsistent criteria, unscored criteria, changed scoring, and undated evaluations.)

* IVPA not Adequately Staffed (Embarking on an initiative of the size and complexity of NRI without key personnel in place is illustrative of IVPA’s inadequate planning for the NRI program.

* IVPA Untimely Approval of Contracts (40 percent of the contracts (265 of 663) were approved by IVPA after the contract was executed by the lead and community partners)

* Community Partners’ Staffing Levels Not Met (Our review of quarterly reports found that community partners did not maintain the number of staff required by their contracts with IVPA. We found no documentation to show that IVPA took steps necessary to correct the staffing deficiencies.

And there’s more. Much more. It’s a freaking mess. Go read the whole thing. More here.

This was a feel-good program tossed together at the last minute to make the governor look like he was doing something. Yes, some people were helped. But there was way too much politics involved and some truly hinky accounting.

Oy.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


57 Comments
  1. - Carl Nyberg - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 1:19 pm:

    I remember Cook County gov’t holding a hearing in the Maywood Village Hall.

    Everybody had some idea for helping children and reducing violence that involved giving the speaker some money.

    The way to address violence in the community is to make our existing gov’t programs work, not distribute more money to people outside normal systems of accountability.

    Teachers and cops need to be trained and certified. Ministers on the other hand…

    Let’s focus on making gov’t work.


  2. - Norseman - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 1:19 pm:

    === This was a feel-good program tossed together at the last minute to make the governor look like he was doing something. ===

    Well said. Unfortunately, this can be said of too many programs proposed by the Governor.


  3. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 1:21 pm:

    Well there ya go!
    Quinn found his spotlight on this issue, pooped out a ton of our tax money over it, then flitted onto the next issue!

    To some, this may seem like the move of an “excellent populist”, but for those of us who have watched Pat Quinn recognized that he just needed to up his ADHD meds that day.

    There is a reason he never lets go of Old Betsy.

    So, the difference between Quinn and Rauner is that Bruce spends the money he’s earned and Pat spends the money you’ve earned.

    Do you think Pat Quinn ever fully realized that the money he wasted on his gad-fly issues over the past forty years was real money that we’ve earned?

    Because that is the problem here.

    I prefer my governors to understand that they are sinking everyone’s future when they sign paper committing the State to a $50,000,000 commitment without return. I want the next governor to treat our money like it is his and care about where it goes, how it is spent, and whether it gets a return.


  4. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 1:26 pm:

    Ugh.

    Reading this is reminiscent of the Auditor’s 2012 findings concerning our 2008 summer youth jobs program.

    History apparently repeats itself.


  5. - OneMan - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 1:27 pm:

    Well that report was rather awkward…

    You know the next statue on the grounds of the capitol should be of Bill Holland


  6. - Nieva - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 1:31 pm:

    20 million here and 20 million there and pretty soon your talking about some real corruption!


  7. - RonOglesby - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 1:33 pm:

    50 Million. Amazing amount of money. We often don’t think that way when looking at gov overall, but man… I know startups that build companies for years on way less than that.

    Of course, voters (through regular mass media) aren’t told about all the programs this happens to. Much like Quinn news flits from story to story… Headline to headline. And yet more money goes down the pipe every year.


  8. - Jerome Horwitz - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 1:40 pm:

    Attention Governor Quinn. Repeat after me - I will not pander to voters. Again. I will not pander to voters.


  9. - just asking - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 1:43 pm:

    2010 was an off year election, right?


  10. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 1:46 pm:

    So-called Christian holy men with their hands out for money.

    They test your faith.

    Your job is saving souls, daddio. You have the words of Jesus. Hard to live up to, but much more powerful than money.

    In fact, no money required.


  11. - Jerry Hubbard - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 1:48 pm:

    I keep seeing comment here how Rauner is going to get trounced by Quinn in November, but with stories like this, and a candidate who is able to get the word out via paid media…You have to admit…. this could be a competitive race.


  12. - Palm Tree - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 1:50 pm:

    =2010 was an off year election, right?=

    Correct. This program was put together in the Fall of a gubernatorial election year. And Quinn started showering Chicago neighborhoods with millions as fast as he could. Some of these recipients walked in parades with Governor Quinn during a political campaign.

    This was a taxpayer funded re-election program for Quinn. Disgustingly, it worked.


  13. - Living in Machiaville - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 1:52 pm:

    Apparently Quinn and Blago do share some character flaws. Throwing tax dollars at prime constituents to curry favor and votes. Quinn seems to be slightly more clever….


  14. - Big Muddy - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 1:54 pm:

    Hinky accounting in Illinois government, in an election year, by a Governor wanting votes? Am I supposed to be shocked by this? Sadly, this is what we have come to expect in this fine state. How long till Rauner gets an ad up on this?


  15. - circularfiringsquad - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 2:05 pm:

    Wow. Just like blinkyJim Edgar and his “literacy grants” back in the good old days…Of course Blinky was “state librarian” and cared deeply about reading skills in many Chicago neighborhoods, especially if they were reading and not voting


  16. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 2:19 pm:

    In reviewing both of these programs, the parallels between the 2008 program & the 2010 program are striking. The way these programs were conceived as a reaction to violence (”The $7.8 million program was part of Blagojevich’s response to a rash of Chicago shootings in early 2008.”), the way money was allocated, the way they were implemented, and so on.

    The 2010 program just involves more “missing” state money.

    Unacceptable.


  17. - Under Further Review - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 2:21 pm:

    I really oppose these type of grants and expenditures which turn out to be nothing more than a scam enriching a handful of self-proclaimed “activists and community representatives. Nobody is vetted and the money may as well have been flushed down the toilet.


  18. - prisoner of cook - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 2:31 pm:

    Just another pork/patronage gimmick. jeff Fort & the Blackstone Rangers gang stole huge dollars from these types of boondoggles back in the day.


  19. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 2:38 pm:

    Here we go with stupid election year politics. I see the Republicans want a criminal investigation of this.


  20. - dupage dan - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 2:40 pm:

    Veni Vedi Vanish


  21. - dupage dan - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 2:44 pm:

    Demoralized - I think it would be better if those involved would just go away - Quinn returning to the fields of endeavor that he was better suited to would be a good thing. The waste of $50 millions bucks apparently doesn’t bother you. Since some of that is mine, I would like it to stop. Can Quinn stop wasting my money? Nope.


  22. - Under Further Review - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 2:45 pm:

    Rereading the posts, I agree with Carl and Word…

    It also seems to me that the same type of ministers (who prevailed upon the Quinn appointed CSU board of trustees not to oust a controversial administrator — the same gent canned an employee for answering FOIA requests and now the university is on the hook for $2.5 million after a lawsuit) have turned Chicago State University into a multimillion dollar fiasco masquerading as an institution of higher learning.

    Throwing money at problems without accountability does not solve anything. I would have been happier if the dollars involved were used to fund the police.


  23. - South of 64 - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 2:50 pm:

    Quinn just needs to go back to CUB! What a disaster and I’m a democrat.


  24. - independent - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 3:06 pm:

    When this kind of thing happens it really hurts legitimate programs like the cash starved CCBYS program which provides a statewide safety net for youth in crisis. It gets good outcomes, helps thousands of young people every year, takes youth in trouble out of law enforcement hands so police can do law enforcement, and keep youth from being exploited by the streets. It was intended to be funded at $20 million dollars in 1985 when it started and now with the budget cuts it limps along for about $9 million dollars. Good needed programs get shortchanged and politically inspired ideas get to waste the precious tax money.


  25. - Langhorne - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 3:10 pm:

    Just stupid and awful. And sadly typical.


  26. - Under Further Review - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 3:16 pm:

    I omitted to state in my last comment that the Auditor General unloaded on Chicago State recently as well. So there was a connection as to wasting money.


  27. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 3:33 pm:

    ==The waste of $50 millions bucks apparently doesn’t bother you. ==

    Umm, where did I say that. I just doubt it was criminal. Stupid? Yes. Criminal? Doubt it.


  28. - OneMan - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 3:39 pm:

    Demoralized, considering the % of spending in doubt I think it is worth a look.

    If it was a state department that did that bad in an audit, it should be followed up by more investigation.


  29. - fed up - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 3:39 pm:

    I just hope Someone (lisa Madigan) follows the money and their are criminal charges, seems very similar to the grants ricky hendon helped folks get paid off on the west side.


  30. - Irish - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 3:42 pm:

    When you’re tossing this kind of money around with no followup to see where it goes, it’s kinda hard to play the “dire fiscal straits card needed to diminish pensions”.


  31. - fed up - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 3:45 pm:

    yeah to bad we have no money for pensions but hey Quinn bought some votes for 50million


  32. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 3:50 pm:

    ==If it was a state department that did that bad in an audit, it should be followed up by more investigation.==

    I don’t think we need some sort of special prosecutor to do so at this point in time like Sen. Brady has no suggested.


  33. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 3:52 pm:

    ==When you’re tossing this kind of money around with no followup to see where it goes==

    I was part of a process like this one time and it came directly from the GA (both parties). Our job was to pay the money. Period. Under those pressures you end up with things like this and believe me, we did. It’s no way to run a railroad.


  34. - OneMan - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 3:53 pm:

    Would agree you don’t need a special prosecutor but too often these sort of audit findings seem to not have more investigative follow-up.

    The three answers here, incompetence, criminality or both, too often I think we just chalk it up to incompetence.


  35. - countyline - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 3:53 pm:

    -When you’re tossing this kind of money around with no followup to see where it goes, it’s kinda hard to play the “dire fiscal straits card needed to diminish pensions”.-

    Or the “we have a revenue problem” card…


  36. - FormerParatrooper - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 3:56 pm:

    Just another example how easy it is to spend others people money. Maybe PQ and other politicians who wantonly spend money and are found to have wasted it should have to repay it back from their personal accounts. If they don’t have the money, take their assets.


  37. - dupage dan - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 3:57 pm:

    The loss of $50 million just a stupid mistake.

    Sir, the loss of 100 grand could be called a stupid mistake. Oversight on such a relatively small amount of money is a difficult thing on the scale of the state. But 50 million dollars as a mistake? If the size of the loss can signal a potential criminal action, how big does it have to be?

    Mistakes with that many zeros after it should be investigated. Or do we just say “oops” and forget about it?


  38. - BigDoggie - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 4:05 pm:

    Has there ever been a spending initiative that included the word “neighborhood” or “community” where the money was spent appropriately??


  39. - eastsider - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 4:08 pm:

    Fed Up said, “I just hope Someone (lisa Madigan) follows the money and their are criminal charges”…

    Ms. Madigan shouldn’t have far to follow…wasn’t she on the board of this organization?


  40. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 4:10 pm:

    @dupage dan:

    Then figure out what happened. I’m fine with that. All I’m saying is we are about 4 steps ahead of ourselves with this criminal talk.


  41. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 4:12 pm:

    ==Or do we just say “oops” and forget about it?==

    No, and NOWHERE did I say that. Sorry if I’ve offended you in some way.


  42. - Fed up - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 4:20 pm:

    Interesting that months before an election Quinn steers 50 million dollars to reverends on the south side of Chicago. Then come election time the south side provides the margin of victory for Quinn who losses the rest of the state. Silly Rauner spending his own money to try and buy an election.


  43. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 4:21 pm:

    The Auditor General does a heavy lift.

    If anyone wants to get past the Fox/MSNBC juvenile treehouess, there’s a lot of reading material there.


  44. - Pat - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 4:38 pm:

    Tio Hardiman is the leader we need in the Governor’s office because of his experience stopping crime and violence. If you want change from the pension thieves the Democratic primary is a way to protest ineffectiveness.


  45. - Fed up - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 4:46 pm:

    Tio does have experience with crime and violence not sure about the stopping it part.


  46. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 4:49 pm:

    @OneMan - I don’t know that we need a special prosecutor on this.

    We can simply do the same thing that was done in 2008: Turn the case over to the Feds.

    A quick google of “US opened probe on payments for Ill. jobs program” will turn up the Associated Press story from May 2012.


  47. - dupage dan - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 5:00 pm:

    Demoralized - all I see is your disparagement of the GOP. Nothing else.


  48. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 5:03 pm:

    @dupage dan:

    I have no idea what you are talking about. I did not disparage anybody. All I said is that the GOP is in election year political mode. If that’s a disparagement then I’m guilty as charged. Go fly a kite.


  49. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 5:13 pm:

    @dupage dan:

    And let me say one other thing before I retire for the evening. There are two things going on here. The first is a demand for an investigation to look into the results of the audit (we’ll see if the Democrats also call for one). That’s appropriate. The second is taking a negative audit and making political hay out of it against your opponent. Also fair game. Where any of that is anti-GOP I have no idea.


  50. - nearsighted - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 6:28 pm:

    So OK, selection of agencies and staffing was not up to snuff. As a taxpayer I am more interested in if the program worked, not so much about accounting details. The project evaluation is much more important than an auditor’s report.


  51. - Lost generation - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 6:44 pm:

    Time sheets not submitted… 15 people instead of 16 supplied…run a competitive RFP to find managers and providers to fight crime.
    It’s clear to me the auditors have no idea what crime is like in the city of Chicago. It’s clear to me that readers of this blog don’t live in a shooting gallery where we lose family members everyday. We are losing a generation and auditors who criticize someone for trying are part of why people stop trying. Shame on you all…


  52. - Big Muddy - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 6:55 pm:

    Lost Generation,
    So just throw money at it and hope it works? Waste, fraud and corruption are okay means if the ends are just? Please. 50 million isn’t pocket change and could have made a difference if spent properly but anyone who doesn’t see the problem with this is, well, the problem.


  53. - Lost generation - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 8:13 pm:

    Big muddy - ok to fill out your time sheet and call it a day. You saved lives today. You’re a super hero.


  54. - Whale watcher - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 12:28 am:

    Follow the Approps chair of the house..ask Barbara Shaw why she retired? Follow the paper…hmmm…


  55. - Big Muddy - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 7:30 am:

    lost generation,
    To quote a famous blogger- “bite me”
    I’m off to save more lives!


  56. - Sheesh - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 9:39 am:

    I disagree with some of the posters here that $50 million was wasted. I would like to know what amount of money was “wasted” and what amount cannot be verified as through no time sheets. It is probably not a large %. In a large project with many partners a lot can happen. If aldermen were asked for recommendations of organizations to fund then that can also mean that time was short and an accepted process (yes, the state does this through short lists of organizations that have the proper qualifications) was done by sending rfps to those organizations that met the qualifications. Hint: use google. The agency in charge, IVPA, is well known and well respected.


  57. - Left Leaner - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 9:42 am:

    IVPA was silently moved under ICJIA last year. Barbara Shaw - gone. Coincidence to this story? I think not.

    A sad waste of money in communities that need well-informed investments in tackling a very serious problem.

    Won’t hold my breath for Lisa Madigan to investigate.

    Get IN Chicago - another violence prevention initiative funded by private sources but organized by Mayor Emanuel last year - was woefully unprepared for its recent first round of grant RFPs. Smart, comprehensive violence prevention can be done - stop with these half-brained efforts.


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