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Mixed signals?

Thursday, Apr 28, 2005

Two different media takes on CMS’s intentions.

From the AP:

The Blagojevich administration is still doing business with a politically connected firm that billed the state for parties, candy and other improper expenses.

Executives at the Illinois Department of Central Management Services say they are “outraged” that the state paid for those items. But they have not cut ties with the company that submitted them, Illinois Property Asset Management.

C-M-S official Paul Campbell says the company has helped the state save money, so firing it without further investigation would be a mistake.

Copley’s version:

A politically connected company criticized in a state audit for seeking payment for questionable expenses could lose its $25 million contract, a Department of Central Management Services official said Wednesday. […]

CMS is reviewing the expenses questioned by Holland and also is trying to determine why CMS employees monitoring the IPAM contract didn’t stop the payments, CMS general counsel Ed Wynn said.

Depending on the outcome of that review, - expected to be completed in a few weeks - CMS could decide to cancel the $29 million contract, Wynn said.

I think the two men basically said the same thing. But their tone must have been different for the two reporters to come away with such different perspectives.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Anonymous - Thursday, Apr 28, 05 @ 1:59 pm:

    Just a few thoughts on the CMS audit. I know William (Bill) Holland fairly well and count him as a good friend. He is nothing but an honest straight shooter. One thing that I have not seen mentioned in print is that Bill is a Democrat, who was appointed by a democratically controlled Legi. I think he is 2 years into his 2nd 10 year term. At the end of this term he can retire. The current governer and his admin. does not have the power over him that they do over other state employees. From what I know of Bill he simply wants our state government to follow the rules as they are written and to benefit the citizens of this State not the politicians and their connections. CMS is barking up the wrong tree if they think they can smear Bill. This audit and the handling of it by CMS seems to be a window into the governer’s new way of doing business. If you don’t like the findings of an audit attack the person that performed the audit. They are acting like Jr. High aged brats that don’t like to be told they have done something wrong.

  2. - Tom DeLay's Mom - Thursday, Apr 28, 05 @ 3:44 pm:

    I could not agree more with the previous post! Absolutely right on the money. Holland has always meticulously followed the letter of the law and calls ‘em how he sees ‘em - whether he’s auditing Dem OR GOP controlled agencies.

    The “attack the messenger” tactic is tried and true on the campaign trail and is acceptable during a knock-down, drag-out fight between candidates - it’s not an acceptable method for taxpayer-funded state agencies to employ to run flak for the governor.

    This is yet another symptom of the Blagojevich Administration’s failure to understand the fact that there’s a big difference between campaigning and governing.

    The governor is an excellent campaigner - but he’s proven, time and again, he’s not much of a GOVERNor.

    That CMS Audit is going to have long legs…just wait until the House investigative hearings begin - breathes new life into this particular news cycle.

    Should be fun to watch!

  3. - Anonymous - Thursday, Apr 28, 05 @ 3:50 pm:

    I thought the press coverage could have been alot worse. I guaged “joe public” types and they have no clue what to make of it… They just dont understand.

    They dont know Bill Holland from Bill Cosby!

  4. - Tom DeLay's Mom - Thursday, Apr 28, 05 @ 3:58 pm:

    Just give it some time - the media is just starting to digest this. Editorial boards are pretty adept at explaining why “Joe Public” is a stakeholder and should care about issues like this.

    Sustained negative media coverage, and looming editorial spankings will hurt the governor over time - if you say something enough times, people begin to believe it.

    And even if voters don’t understand this issue (or care about it enough to read the news stories) - Blagojevich’s political opponents will be more than happy to summarize the issue for the electorate with a heavy salvo of nifty, 30-second commercials!

    The more coverage this story receives, the more soundbites and excerpts Blago’s opponents will have to insert into those ads…

  5. - Anonymous - Thursday, Apr 28, 05 @ 4:03 pm:

    Anyone else wondering who the City of Chicago employee is who obviously wasn’t doing city business but rather working for IPAM for I’m sure big $?

    #32 of the list of reimbursed expenses was a cell phone bill for $344.04 that’s statement is billed to the City of Chicago but yet IPAM was seeking (and received) reimbursement for it. Not only are these folks corrupt but completely incompetent!!!

  6. - Anonymous - Thursday, Apr 28, 05 @ 5:30 pm:


    What is so different?

    Both said, as of now, the contract is still in effect and, upon further investigation, it could be terminated.

  7. - danblake - Thursday, Apr 28, 05 @ 8:52 pm:

    I posted the just a few thoughts comments earlier. Since that time I was able to read some of the Gov’s comments about this audit. He made some sort of comment about this being a fight between accountants. I read this and have to think his 18 score on the ACT is showing through. Lets see they want to make the state to run more like private business. That being the case some people at CMS and some of the vendors involved should be facing fraud trials. (Enron,Tyco,World Com). Oh, maybe the gov. and CMS people just want to be able to inflate numbers and abuse fiducary duties but, don’t want to be held accountable. Maybe we need Elliot Spitzer to come from New York. My hope is that Lisa M. does look into this matter. However, not much may come of this because of the politics involved. From what I have heard she is a likely gov. candidate in 2010 and may not want to alienate to many people. On the other had I have not heard anything but good things about her. One thing most people outside of government don’t know is something like this has been along time coming. I am not involved in anyway in politics. However, I live in Springfield and know various pols. and lobbyist. Most of them even the Democrats have been amazed at the public persona of this admin. followed by actions that in some cases are worse than business as usual. I am sorry but, in my mind if you want a state contract you should not be allowed to give any campaign contributions. On the other hand this would mean that your ability to get a contract would be based on your ability to fulfill that contract. Hum a new concept.

  8. - Anonymous - Thursday, Apr 28, 05 @ 9:50 pm:

    Man, where was all this Republican indignation during the previous Edgar and Ryan administrations when countless examples of wrong doing occurred? Where was the Republican indignation when Treasurer Topinka had state staff running her campaign? Where was the indignation when JIm Edgar stepped all over the MSI scandal?

    You all act so surprised at Governor Blagojevich but you shouldn’t. Leaders of your very own party have set the standard!

  9. - danblake - Thursday, Apr 28, 05 @ 10:20 pm:

    1st of all I have no party affiliation. 2nd, I can’t recall that any of the people you mentioned ever went public and said no more business as usual. The whole point is this admin is no different than any of the ones you mentioned. They can say whatever they want. However, actions speak louder than words. If they really want change, then heads should roll at CMS. You as well as I know this will not happen unless the presure gets to intense. At my place of employment actions outlined in this audit are grounds for termination. If they truly want to operate like private business the same should happen here. These actions can be disguised in any manner that CMS and the vendor wishes. The bottom line is that the vendors actions are plain and simple theft. CMS actions as shown thus far constitutes incompetence. The Gov. needs to put his money where his mouth is. No pun intended.

  10. - Anonymous - Thursday, Apr 28, 05 @ 11:53 pm:

    To the Edgar and Ryan were no better camp: no one is shocked that Blagojevich is doing the same thing.

    The shock comes in the showing no remorse, no promise to do better, no grasp that being incompetent is a political liability.

    Things like this are shocking:
    “WASHINGTON (AP) - Gov. Rod Blagojevich said Thursday that the state’s selling of old computers that still hold potentially sensitive government files and personal data should be addressed, but he made light of the situation, joking that it amounted to greater public “transparency” into government operations.

    It’s information that the public probably has a right to know anyway. So I’m not at all concerned about it,” he told reporters.

    Auditor General William Holland warned that the problem could be serious.

    The computers contained information about Internet addresses and servers that could help someone breach computer security measures. They also contained document files and instant messenger programs.

    Some of the computers were from the secretary of state’s office, which handles drivers licenses and other personal information.

  11. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 8:08 am:

    At the moment, I am more concerned about Holland’s warning regarding the computers released from state custody with sensitive information still on their hard drives.

    Inappropriate expense reimbursements can be recalled and criminal charges can be filed when appropriate, but much of the sensitive information that went out the door with old computers easily could land in the wrong hands and be used for a range of criminal activity that could go undiscovered for months.

    Failing to oversee the proper destruction of sensitive electronic files is a serious violation of the public trust and deserves as much investigation and criticism as the allegations contained in the just-released audit.

    I hope state officials and the news media will take a closer look at how state agencies dispose of computers and other information management equipment.

  12. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 8:26 am:

    I know this is off topic, but the SJR has a story about ANOTHER DOT employee charged with a DUI. He, of course worked on Blago’s campaign and was appointed to a Bureau Chief position after a short stay at CMS (maybe they didn’t invite him to the free lunches at CMS). He was found asleep in a parking lot at 1:30AM. I would love to take direction from him at 8:30AM or whenever he stumbles into work. This is the second Blago appointee charged with a DUI in last two weeks. Doesn’t that agency promote safe driving and no drinking? More quality people from this group….

  13. - danblake - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 1:51 pm:

    This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

  14. - Anonymous - Saturday, Apr 30, 05 @ 8:44 pm:

    Given their past relationship or lack of, I’m surprised that the Guv’s office hasn’t pointed the finger at Secretary White for not wiping those computers clean. Maybe the Guv’s folks knew they were SOS computers and are just trying to turn the heat up on Secretary White?

  15. - Tessa - Sunday, May 1, 05 @ 8:45 am:

    Did the computers come out of the SOS offices? Over the years, many of ours have been replaced and the old ones taken back to Springfield. At some point in time, they are to have the hard drive completely erased so that they can be gotten rid of, some how, some way. I, of course, wouldn’t want one of those antiquated things, but someone might.

    I can only imagine what could be found on some of the computers they take from administrators, but from local DHS offices, etc., the thought is scary. Identity theft is a click of a mouse away.

    As for Holland, I’m proud of what he’s done, regardless of party affiliation, he has a job to do and he has done it well.

    At some point, the Gov’s attitude about this is going to blow up in his face. He’s not taking this very seriously, at least not in front of the media. And this is far from over. The legislative hearings haven’t started.

    Grab some popcorn and sit back and watch.

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