* 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.
* 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.
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.