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A complete waste of time and money

Monday, Jun 23, 2014

* I’m pretty sure I’ve covered this angle already because it’s so maddening

The state spent almost half a million dollars on a flawed study of Gov. Pat Quinn’s now-defunct anti-violence program — the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative — after officials rejected a more rigorous evaluation that would have been free, auditors say.

The $498,351 study by the University of Illinois at Chicago didn’t even examine whether the program helped reduce violence, according to Auditor General William Holland’s office. […]

The University of Chicago offered to conduct a controlled “outcome evaluation” of the program on a pro bono basis, Roseanna Ander, executive director of the crime lab, said.

That kind of study would have measured the program’s impact on violence, she said. “Crime and violence are such important social problems that it is important to take every opportunity to learn as much as possible about what works.”

But Shaw decided to award a no-bid contract to UIC to do a less rigorous “process evaluation” at a cost of nearly $500,000, auditors said.

* This was buried deep down in the story, but it’s an important point

Other documents from the auditor general’s office reveal that Shaw selected the University of Illinois at Chicago for the contract even though the governor’s office preferred the University of Chicago.

Oy.

* Ms. Shaw will be the focus of a hearing today

A panel of lawmakers looking into reports of financial irregularities in Gov. Pat Quinn’s $55-million anti-violence grant program will meet today to decide whether to subpoena the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative’s former director to testify.

Barbara Shaw has already turned down an invitation to testify before the Legislative Audit Commission. The bipartisan group of lawmakers is digging into the stinging audit done by Auditor General William Holland that uncovered widespread abuse of funds in a program he maintained was hastily rolled out without adequate oversight.

The Legislative Audit Commission will meet at 1 p.m. at the Bilandic Building, where the panel is scheduled to vote on whether to subpoena Shaw, 66, of Chicago.

* From last week

The subcommittee that will decide Monday whether to compel Shaw to testify includes Sen. Jason Barickman, R-Champaign; Sen. John Mulroe, D-Chicago; Rep. Robert Rita, D-Blue Island; and Rep. David Reis, R-Willow Hill.

At this point, it’s not clear whether three votes exist to force the issue with Shaw. It also isn’t clear what ability, if any, the commission has to enforce a subpoena should Shaw or anyone else that may be subpoenaed not agree to testify.

“I’m not sure at this point,” Rita told the Sun-Times by email when asked if he intended to vote to subpoena Shaw. “(I’d) like to review more information.”

I reached out to Rep. Rita, but haven’t heard back.

* Meanwhile

House Speaker Michael Madigan intends to sign off on a subpoena of the former state administrator Gov. Pat Quinn put in charge of launching his scandal-tainted Neighborhood Recovery Initiative, an aide to the speaker confirmed Friday.

“As far as I know, the speaker is prepared to sign off on subpoenas and, I think, move this process along,” Madigan spokesman Steve Brown told the Chicago Sun-Times’ Early & Often political portal.

That assurance came after Republican members of the Legislature Audit Commission delivered a letter to Madigan, D-Chicago, and Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, protesting their role in personally signing off on the issuance of any subpoenas tied to the ongoing NRI legislative probe. […]

Republicans contended in their letter Friday that subpoenas should be signed off on by the co-chairs of the Legislative Audit Commission and not Madigan and Cullerton. They pointed to two earlier instances in which subpoenas were issued by the audit panel without signatures from the House speaker and Senate president personally.

But Brown countered that having the leaders involved strengthened the process.

I’m told by his spokesperson that Senate President Cullerton believes “the Commission has the authority to issue subpoenas without the leaders.” She added, “It’s our understanding that subpoenas are going to be issued.”

* You can watch a live video stream of this afternoon’s hearing by clicking here.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


17 Comments
  1. - wordslinger - Monday, Jun 23, 14 @ 11:38 am:

    Another pebble on the pile.

    The gov’s peeps can try putting it off on Shaw, but that dog don’t hunt.

    The whole deal was, at very best, a complete management screwup and he’s the chief executive.


  2. - Joan P. - Monday, Jun 23, 14 @ 11:38 am:

    “Other documents from the auditor general’s office reveal that Shaw selected the University of Illinois at Chicago for the contract even though the governor’s office preferred the University of Chicago.”

    I’m sure he just misheard the Governor. After all, “UofC” sounds an awful lot like “UIC”, particularly if you don’t enunciate.


  3. - phocion - Monday, Jun 23, 14 @ 11:42 am:

    Well, what did the UIC “process evaluation” find out about the process?


  4. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jun 23, 14 @ 11:47 am:

    Quinn faces the tough political fallout of this entire fiasco, playing out with the GA a willing partner to expose this horrific mismanagement.

    Shaw needs to show up, lawyered up, and clam up.

    See what questions the Committee has to ask, wait for the US Attorney to ask her to come in, and tell the 100% absolute truth, with a promise of either immunity or something else in exchange for that unfiltered truth.

    Rauner has the instrument to really take a message of mismanagement home. Resources will not be lacking. All Rauner’s Crew needs to do is amplify these negatives beyond reasonable retort, and it could very well be “game over”

    Shaw. Appear. Lawyered.

    The rest is just a slow play hand for the US Attorney.


  5. - Mighty M. Mouse - Monday, Jun 23, 14 @ 11:48 am:

    ===Shaw selected the University of Illinois at Chicago for the contract even though the governor’s office preferred the University of Chicago.===

    I don’t understand. If she worked for and was appointed by the governor, why wouldn’t she have picked the zero cost option the governor’s office indicated that they preferred?


  6. - so... - Monday, Jun 23, 14 @ 11:51 am:

    ======Shaw selected the University of Illinois at Chicago for the contract even though the governor’s office preferred the University of Chicago.===

    I don’t understand. If she worked for and was appointed by the governor, why wouldn’t she have picked the zero cost option the governor’s office indicated that they preferred?===

    And there’s the $498,351 question


  7. - A guy... - Monday, Jun 23, 14 @ 11:54 am:

    Trouble is….it sure looks like she has something to say and wants to say it.


  8. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jun 23, 14 @ 11:59 am:

    ===Trouble is….it sure looks like she has something to say and wants to say it.===

    Say it. Say it only to the US Attorney, only when asked to come in by them, and under the agreement that Shaw will be 100% truthful in exchange for immunity or something of great significance.

    Answering Committee questions that the US Attorney can turn around and point out answers that are either misleading or not necessarily truthful only hurts in dealing with that Office.

    Talk, say whatever you want Shaw, just do it only for the US Attorney’s Office.


  9. - Cassiopeia - Monday, Jun 23, 14 @ 11:59 am:

    I expect Shaw to finger higher ups in Gov’s office in order to deflect being the total focus of the probe, especially the legal inquiries.

    It’s the “following orders” defense.


  10. - fed up - Monday, Jun 23, 14 @ 12:02 pm:

    Interesting Rita’s not sure if we really need to hear from Shaw regarding Quinns scheme to use taxpayer monies to get money to Revs on the south side just before an election where south side turn out was the difference. oh thats right Rita is a south side guy with a multitude of family connections in political positions why would he want to open that can of worms.


  11. - Mighty M. Mouse - Monday, Jun 23, 14 @ 12:08 pm:

    ===I expect Shaw to finger higher ups in Gov’s office in order to deflect being the total focus of the probe, especially the legal inquiries.

    It’s the “following orders” defense.===

    You expect that “higher ups” in the governor’s office told her to do something other than what the governor’s office was telling her they wanted her to do? How does THAT make any sense to you?


  12. - walker - Monday, Jun 23, 14 @ 1:21 pm:

    Issue the darn subpoena. You don’t need someone holding your hand.


  13. - CirularFiringSquad - Monday, Jun 23, 14 @ 2:51 pm:

    WOW if this is GOPie leads, Mitt Rauner is in big big trouble


  14. - Amalia - Monday, Jun 23, 14 @ 3:37 pm:

    I’m confused about the University of Chicago “crime lab.” The University lists Roseanna Ander as the founding executive director of the Urban Education Lab. Is that the “crime lab”? the entire enterprise of the Urban Ed Lab seems focused on education as in they are creating and supporting charter schools in that enterprise. Are they shifting focus at U. of C. away from crime analysis? Did Ms. Ander switch jobs? And what role, if any, does the fact that U. of C. is not a trauma center…as in takes no gun shot victims except for those who are children at their ER, a fact their own doctors protest…..play in this? free is good, but now I’m officially wondering what more is up.


  15. - Precinct Captain - Monday, Jun 23, 14 @ 4:12 pm:

    ==Interesting Rita’s not sure if we really need to hear from Shaw regarding Quinns scheme to use taxpayer monies to get money to Revs on the south side just before an election where south side turn out was the difference. oh thats right Rita is a south side guy with a multitude of family connections in political positions why would he want to open that can of worms.==

    Rita’s a south suburbs guy, Blue Island.

    Anyway, maybe Shaw would testify without a subpoena if the LAC Republicans were treating this like a serious investigation, not a conspiratorial kangaroo court wild goose chase Benghazi investigation like their congressional brethren. In fact, Shaw was strongly considering going to testify until one of the LAC meetings devolved into a circus according to a S-T article posted here last week.

    http://capitolfax.com/wp-mobile.php?p=21616&more=1

    Why would she want to testify in front of someone like this (from May 28)?

    “Sen Barickman: Some have suggested we shouldnt continue our probe because of the ongoing criminal probes. But we have a duty to take action.”

    “Barickman: We can’t attempt to draw conclusions to the motives behind the rushed implementation of the NRI. We’ll leave that up to the law.”

    So, we can’t draw conclusions because there is a criminal investigation going on, but we can grandstand. Some investigation.

    http://embed.scribblelive.com/Embed/v5.aspx?Id=170523&Page=515&ThemeId=1370


  16. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jun 23, 14 @ 4:23 pm:

    ===Why would she want to testify in front of someone like this…?===

    That is the Red Herring; the GOP.

    The real problem is any and all answers in front of this committee…Shaw could very well be questioned on the truthfulness of those answers…by a US Attorney.

    That is the real fear.


  17. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Jun 23, 14 @ 4:30 pm:

    Shaw’s preference for measuring outputs over outcomes is unfortunately common, and not just in the public sector.


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