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Bishop out at DCFS

Thursday, Feb 27, 2014

* I’m still puzzled why Quinn even appointed this guy in the first place. AP

The director of the state’s child welfare agency who pleaded guilty to stealing money from clients of a Chicago social-service agency 20 years ago has resigned from his post.

Department of Children and Family Services Director Arthur Bishop submitted a letter of resignation to Gov. Pat Quinn’s office Wednesday. The letter notes that his background could be a distraction for Quinn in the upcoming election.

The Chicago Sun Times and WBEZ Radio reported last week that Bishop pleaded guilty to theft in the mid-1990s for taking money from patients at Chicago mental health center.

Quinn’s spokeswoman says the governor immediately appointed a new acting director of the agency. Attorney and social worker Bobbie Gregg was appointed for a 60-day term while a search for a full-time replacement begins.

* Bishop’s resignation letter was quite bitter

While your political rivals may be willing to attack me in an effort to obtain some modicum of political advantage, I cannot agree to be used as a distraction to the real issues that face the state and the children that remain in state custody.”

* Oof

The announcement of Bishop’s resignation came shortly after the news organizations had posted a story in which a daughter, Erica Bishop, questioned how Arthur Bishop could care for the state’s most troubled children given that he had shunned her for her entire life — even after DNA testing proved she was his daughter nearly 11 years ago.

“He’s supposed to be protecting the kids of the state — and you’ve got a kid out here you never done anything for,” Erica Bishop said. “He left me as a father, which I think that’s unfair to me and it’s unfair to my kids. . . . As far as them wanting to keep giving him higher positions to look over people’s kids, I don’t agree.”

Sun-Times and WBEZ reporters interviewed Erica Bishop on Tuesday morning and requested an interview with Arthur Bishop that afternoon.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - A guy... - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 10:10 am:

    Bye creep.

  2. - flea - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 10:13 am:

    Miller ought to man up and do the same thing…

  3. - LincolnLounger - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 10:15 am:

    Another Pat Quinn appointment success story.

    Nice to see the best he could do in the interim was a deputy director of a division who had been at DCFS for a year. It’s not like they do anything important at DCFS, so such a qualified placeholder will surely be up to the task.

  4. - dupage dan - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 10:16 am:

    What is more disturbing is not necessarily this guys behavior over the years but that Quinn appointed him - did the vetting fail or was there none? Does Quinn believe that he is so beloved or revered that his choices would not be questioned? Can he really be that clueless?

  5. - Levois - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 10:19 am:

    I suppose there is a problem with the vetting process. Surely there is a way to weed this type of information out. Are there other Quinn appointees with issues that came to light after they got the job?

  6. - Ron Burgundy - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 10:22 am:

    I don’t think having personally neglected your own child is the kind of experience with child protection issues they should be looking for in a DCFS Director, but that’s just me.

  7. - MrJM - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 10:25 am:

    Miller ought to man up and do the same thing…

    Leave Rich alone!

    – MrJM

  8. - Jim'e' - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 10:26 am:

    I like the idea of giving a guy a second chance (convicted of theft), but gee, he didnt’ even try to connect to his daughter. That man has got heart, not.

  9. - W.S. Walcott - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 10:26 am:

    Why was this guy ok to be director of the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice? Politics. It’s always okay, until it isn’t okay. The most prominent time to fall on your sword and resign is in an election year. Just ask Michael Randall.

  10. - Robert the Bruce - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 10:27 am:

    I can’t imagine Quinn thought he was the best candidate; I can imagine Quinn doing this as part of a deal with a legislator or another elected official. I wonder who?

  11. - Give Me A Break - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 10:30 am:

    Yes this an issue, however, before anyone tries to act like this is new to state govt., I would remind you of a few Edgar and Ryan directors who had flowers sent to their offices everyday (paid for by taxpayers) and trips to Chicago on the state’s dime for concerts and other things. I’m not saying Bishop is wrong to step down, but don’t preach to me this is a Democrat or Quinn issue only.

  12. - hisgirlfriday - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 10:34 am:

    Wish Lisa was the Dem nominee for governor. :(

  13. - OneMan - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 10:36 am:

    When you are going to go after a guy every Republican knows that NPR is the way to go.


  14. - Generation X - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 10:40 am:

    - Give Me A Break - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 10:30 am:

    Yes this an issue, however, before anyone tries to act like this is new to state govt., I would remind you of a few Edgar and Ryan directors who had flowers sent to their offices everyday (paid for by taxpayers) and trips to Chicago on the state’s dime for concerts and other things. I’m not saying Bishop is wrong to step down, but don’t preach to me this is a Democrat or Quinn issue only.-

    I don’t see anybody saying that anywhere.

  15. - Give Me A Break - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 10:47 am:

    Gen X: I take you are new to politics.

  16. - Nonplussed - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 10:53 am:

    Crap, I remember when “Generation X” meant I was young.

  17. - Wensicia - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 10:58 am:

    I wonder who suggested to Quinn that Bishop was the best qualified choice for the position.

  18. - I'm New Here - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 11:00 am:

    @ Robert the Bruce

    I think it’s more likely that Quinn made the appointment to drive African American turnout next Fall.

  19. - RonOglesby - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 11:03 am:

    @Give me a break

    This is a governor running for re-election. past sins of guys from a decade or more ago do not absolve him. Sorry, but Gen X is right. no one is standing here saying both sides are pure. But this man has questionable mgmt/executive skills as it is and this is a reasonable line of questioning.

  20. - Demoralized - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 11:04 am:

    The only thing I find odd is that he has already been the Director of one department. Why was this not an issue then?

  21. - Marty Funkhouser - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 11:05 am:

    Maybe he was like Jon Monken, whom Quinn appointed to head the ISP partly because he lived down the street from the governor.

  22. - dupage dan - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 11:05 am:

    I understand the political nature of appointments - it’s a reality. Was Bishop the ONLY person who could fulfill the political needs of Quinn while being the director of DCFS?

  23. - Stuff happens - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 11:13 am:

    Maybe, just maybe, we’ll be able to get our homestudy finished for our foster license (with an eye towards adoption). First Catholic Charities dropped us and we had to start over, then they were overworked, then they wanted to wait in case new director changed any policies, and now…

    I think I’m just venting here. Sorry.

  24. - Generation X - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 11:13 am:

    It has been a bad couple of weeks for Quinn and no amount of pointing out previous Gov’s failings will change that.

    Only a disingenuous hyperpartisan would attempt to say this is unique to Quinn or the Democrats. I haven’t seen any of that here.

  25. - LincolnLounger - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 11:18 am:

    Further, PQ has always presented himself as a white knight “reformer” above the stench of politics.

  26. - Barney Fife - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 11:38 am:

    Another failed PQ appointed Agency Director. Scandal after Scandal. Idoc Director Godinez is the only other appointment that I think tops the list for Agency scandals and malfeasance. Time for appointment confirmation house cleaning!

  27. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 11:56 am:

    Why doesn’t the Director of Natural Resources Marc Miller look in the mirror and resign. More importantly, why does Quinn appoint these guys to Agency Directors?

  28. - Sir Reel - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 12:10 pm:

    Marc Miller worked for Quinn when Quinn was LG,on environmental issues. He got the DNR job on that basis, not because he had a political patron, lots of money to donate, lots of votes, etc. So as directors go, he is pretty clean.

    All the troubled executive staff at DNR weren’t hired by him. They come straight from the Governor.

    That said, I can’t believe he’s staying. The “executive” end of State government has slid so far downhill I don’t know why any professional would take such jobs.

  29. - Under Further Review - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 12:17 pm:

    Ask yourself where the votes were coming from and who clouted Bishop? Quinn has shown a willingness to sell out for votes all of the time. The damning report issued by the Auditor General demonstrates that. The ongoing scandal that is Chicago State University (where Quinn has acted as an enabler for the unethical university leadership team by appointing a new board that supports the crumbs) is another case — the failing campus made negative headlines in both Chicago papers today.

    As for Bishop and his estranged daughter, it sickened me to learn that he claims to be a minister.

  30. - Irish - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 12:17 pm:

    Stuff @ 11:13 am: - Been down that road. Twice. Never seems like it is going to happen. But once it does it is more than worth it. Good Luck. You are good people.

  31. - Retired IDNR - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 12:27 pm:

    Sir Reel:
    IDNR Director might have an environmental background and he might be a nice guy, but that doesn’t mean he’s not part of the problem now. Deputy Director Lyod and Marc Miller were college friends and Lyod was Miller’s guy, not the Governor’s. It was well known Lyod NEVER showed up for work, not just only as reported in the paper of taking the summer off to fish.
    Nice guys become part of the system of corruption too!!!!!

  32. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 12:35 pm:

    Pat Quinn: Effectively ineffective since 2009.

  33. - Sir Reel - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 12:38 pm:

    Retired DNR, you’re right.

    Lie down with dogs …

  34. - state worker - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 12:39 pm:

    His past didn’t come up when he was appointed Director of Juvenile Justice because it wasn’t election season. His clout was earned years ago because he was the caseworker in the “baby T” case. Simple as that.

  35. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 12:41 pm:

    Good for Erica Bishop for speaking up, and good for DCFS that this guy won’t be running the show.

    It seems like Quinn places a greater emphasis on political sponsorship than practical qualifications when naming some of these department heads.

    Either that, or this administration still hasn’t figured out how to properly vet people for important positions despite 5 years of on-the-job-training while running Illinois.

  36. - carbaby - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 12:41 pm:

    The irony of the new interim is that she was a Quinn pick to work under/with Calica. Her title at hire was something like Confidential Advisor to the Director- a completely made up title and no one knew exactly what she was supposed to be doing. Her title changed about three times since she was hired last February. She is an attorney and she was over Dupage County mental health prior.

    To be honest there are not many people left in high level positions to tap within to take over as Interim and/or as Director. It will come from “outside”- but you’re never really outside especially if you are in executive leadership of a Child Welfare/non profit organization. That is the insiders inside group.

  37. - Juvenal - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 12:47 pm:

    @Demoralized -

    You’ve heard of Squeezy the Python, but apparently you aren’t familiar with Anaconda, aka “Pass the Trash,” “Screw Your Neighbor.” and names I cannot print.

    It is a common game in both the government and for-profit sector. Much less so in nonprofits.

    It goes something like this:

    You have an employee, coworker, or agent you work with that you can’t really get rid of, so you do the next best thing: you recommend them to someone else.

    I am guessing there were a lot of folks who were quite thrilled to see Bishop leave DCFS. They kept their mouth shut, maybe even said flattering things.

    When his name was being considered for DCFS Director, the DJJ folks played the same game. The problem was, child welfare wasn’t falling for it.

    We will never know who dropped the dime on Bishop, but the Sun-times reporters sure made it sound like their phone was ringing off the hook, so I would bet it was a combo of longtime DCFS staff, nonprofit leaders and child advocates.

  38. - Proud - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 1:00 pm:

    So you are talking about nobody left with experience but then take issue with pulling from the experience of a Child Welfare/non profit organization. Makes sense to look there vs an in experienced person?

  39. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 1:18 pm:


    Now the Department of Insurance is coming under fire today. It turns out that this individual:

    was simultaneously working in Illinois as a health care navigator until the Dept. of Insurance later revoked her certification.

    These are not small mistakes or simple oversights.

  40. - peacelover - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 1:36 pm:

    1. Background investigations are done by the ISP on gubernatorial appointees. It is not an uncommon occurrence for negative information to be reported and the person is appointed/hired anyway.
    2.I’m not a big Monken fan-but to compare him to a guy who’s a criminal and deadbeat dad isn’t a fair comparison.

  41. - I B Strapped - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 1:42 pm:

    You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool those who are/have been in the trenches with these political hacks, especially when the ***** hits the propeller.

  42. - carbaby - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 2:26 pm:

    Proud- there are a few on the inside with the experience necessary but highly doubtful they would want the nod as they are satisfied where they are at and some would just as soon stay low key.
    I absolutely do not take issue with those on the outside with the knowledge, skills and leadership ability necessary to take on the totality of this system. I am merely pointing out that those “outsiders” many times were working for the state prior to taking those executive level positions- and those who did not still are involved in a pretty small community of key players and have had much influence on the inside- as they are the drivers of the majority of the system as a whole. Illinois child welfare is really a small world.

  43. - Charlatan Heston - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 2:46 pm:

    @ carbaby- your knowledge and measured insight are appreciated.

  44. - Cassandra - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 3:00 pm:

    After the Baby T case, Bishop ascended the DCFS ranks rather quickly. Maybe the Burkes had something to do with that. This was during the Republican era, I would note; he was a deputy director or similar level under Jess McDonald.

    Quinn’s office must have known about his background before he was given the Juvenile Justice job. Moving him to DCFS wasn’t that irrational, given what was apparently an uneventful tenure at DJJ. I’m actually surprised given the strong statement of support the guv gave him when the Sun Times story came out.

    So, this makes, by my count, 7 DCFS directors, four permanent appointments and three acting, since the Democrats took over Illinois state government in 2003. Given all this churn in the exec suite, it must be hard to pursue any kind of strategic plan–if there is one. But without a strong permanent executive, it’s easy to use an agency in constant flux as a political parking place for folks in need of six figure state jobs that aren’t too demanding. We may not be seeing
    improvements at DCFS soon.

  45. - to be clear - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 3:19 pm:

    Wasn’t Bishop at DJJ when they were having problems with sucides, and didn’t they fail to put suicide-proof beds in the rooms where kids at risk for self-harm were held?

  46. - Juvenal - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 3:19 pm:

    @Cassandra -

    I could be wrong, but I don’t think Bishop became Deputy Director of Operations until Blago.

    @Carbaby -

    From a practical stand point, I think it is pretty difficult to recruit someone from outside of state government to this post at this point, but Quinn could get lucky.

    Who is going to quit their job in the private sector to come be director for five months? the first 60 days, you are only acting, and the first week of October every change you had hoped for comes to a screeching halt as people hold their breath waiting to see if you are still gonna be their boss. Or they are too busy polishing their resumes. Or they are giving notice.

    If Quinn loses, you have no authority left over your own staff, let alone contractors or policy.

    Unless Quinn wins re-election, five months is all you get.

    So, while I agree with the editorial boards, clearly Illinois can do better than Bishop, the idea of a national search seems far-fetched. Keep in mind, while Illinois has its problems, it is still considered the best system in the country by most.

    Hell, Arizona just fired their entire agency when it was discovered that thousands of child abuse reports had gone uninvestigated for years. In Illinois, we take DCFS to task if the investigation isn’t launched within 24 hours.

  47. - Johnnie Boy - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 3:23 pm:

    Good luck to DCFS and Governor Quinn as they search for a highly qualified director to serve 8 months before the election.

  48. - Cassandra - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 3:36 pm:

    Good point, JB.

    Juvenal-I think you are right, but he was in a high level administrative position before that under McDonald–assistant or associate deputy or some similar position.Not sure of the terminology.

  49. - Juvenal - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 3:38 pm:

    @Johnnie Boy -

    My point exactly. I think they can find a highly qualified director, but I think it is highly unlikely that person is going to come from outside Illinois or from the private sector.

    Think about the relocation costs. Who relocates for an 8-month job?

    Don’t forget that even if you are only director for 8 months, the revolving door law keeps you from returning to the private sector for one year in most cases.

    If I were looking to run a state child welfare agency, I’d head to Arizona. Better weather, nowhere to go but up, and Jan Brewer looks like she is a safer bet.

  50. - Charlatan Heston - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 3:59 pm:

    @ Cassandra- I don’t think Arthur moved up that quickly under JM. Supervisor for sure but you probably recall the whole Regional Administrator structure might still have
    existed back then; four area offices and maybe even a Cook RA. Arthur sure didn’t jump past all that

  51. - James - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 4:05 pm:

    Bobbie Gregg was a law school classmate. Highly intelligent and ethical. Knows how to say no. I would call it an outstanding appointment.

  52. - Cassandra - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 4:24 pm:

    I’m pretty sure he was higher than that, an spsa for sure, worked directly under the chief of staff/pr chief, along with a counterpart from what was then the child protection division. When Blago sent Bamani Obadele over as his DCFS
    liaison in 2003, the two moved up to the respective deputy of operations and child protection division, but they were already working in the executive suite so to speak, under JM. I’m just not sure of the job title.

    My point, anyway, Bishop’s successful career (until now) at DCFS proceeded under both Republican and Democratic administrations.

  53. - Charlatan Heston - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 4:34 pm:

    Cassandra- You may be right. Might have worked for MA. And yes, you are correct, his climb began long ago.

    And I agree, this sort of mess is not limited to Democrats.

  54. - Juvenal - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 5:23 pm:

    Cassandra & Charlatan -

    I think that we’d all agree that the standards are different for Director of DCFS than those other posts.

    DCFS Director is even different than DJJ Director, in that the DCFS director adjudicates appealed child neglect and abuse cases.

  55. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 5:26 pm:

    Hey if Burke put his wife on the Court of Claims/Appellate Court/Supreme Court, his daughter on the Pollution Control Board, and his son-in-law on the circuit court, why shouldn’t the Baby T. caseworker get some love too?

  56. - Just The Way It Is One - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 6:39 pm:

    Well, as I’ve commented about troubles within DCFS and then its’ most recent inept choice for Director, it was inevitable that Arthur had to go…

    Now they need a man with a heart of gold, who genuinely loves forlorn children, and has the perseverance and courage to battle for what is truly in the Best Interest of our Foster Children with the resources available. And it doesn’t have to be somebody from New York or California or such. It could and very well SHOULD be a Local Guy (i.e. how’s about actually a Life-Long Illinoisan?!) of Integrity whose been around the Block with Child Welfare cases, worked with kids/understands the special challenges they face and how their safety/well-being must come before ALL ELSE, and knows the System well-enough to restore some much-needed Integrity (at least for the next few years while Pat Quinn is still Governor), to truly one of the toughest Jobs around these Parts…!

  57. - Stickman - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 6:49 pm:

    Miller needs to resign. He had SOME enviro experience and was appointed because he was in the Lt Gov’s Office during the impeachment. He is NOT a leader. Being loyal is also important. He has failed there too. His loyalty is to promote HIMSELF. Look for him to travel a lot in the weeks and months ahead. IDNR needs a director not someone chasing his next job and frequent flier miles.

  58. - Urban Hero - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 8:03 pm:

    Why is the DNR Director still working? He helped commit fraud since he let his friend fish and run businesses all summer. The DCFS Director’s crime is 20 years old. Both men stole from us. At least the DCFS guy resigned.

  59. - Pieces Man - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 10:12 pm:

    Congrats to Bobbie Gregg. Too bad about the Bishop mess. He isn’t new to state government? Some role model for our kids. I will also agree that the DNR Director should resign. He can jump in the lake or go on a long fishing trip with his friend. If he wants to work, maybe one of the mines will hire him.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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* The cover-up of the killing of Laquan McDonald.
* Keeping retirement weird. Justice is the public face of love.
* RLC Roundup: Drivers Aim Lawsuit At Tinley Park Red Light Cameras
* Dueling pair of children being used to fight for attention of Chicago, world
* No Positive Loitering Tonight
* Fairness.
* It brings out the rats.
* If we are to get Goldman Sachs out of ESEA, we will have to be the ones to do it.
* Black Friday on North Michigan Avenue.

* Emergency Management Officials, National Weather Service Encourage Winter Preparedness - November is Winter Weather Preparedness Month in Illinois
* Keep Your Family Safe This Winter - November through February are leading months for carbon monoxide related incidents
* Governor Takes Bill Action
* Illinois Department of Labor Director Hugo Chaviano Awards Governor’s Award for Contributions in Health and Safety to the Illinois Refining Division of Marathon Petroleum Company LP
* State Regulator Elected Treasurer of Interstate Medical Licensure Compact

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