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Rauner administration again defends its Quincy veterans home response

Monday, Apr 16, 2018

* Mark Maxwell

Governor Bruce Rauner’s administration is pushing back forcefully against what it considers misconceptions and misunderstandings around a fatal 2015 outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease at a veterans home in Quincy. […]

A 35-page report crafted by Rauner’s staff sets out to “correct those inaccuracies” with a detailed timeline of events explaining specific steps they took to remedy what the report calls a tragic, unprecedented outbreak. WCIA obtained a copy of the report that was sent to each of the four top legislative leaders last week.

In it, the administration details a specific timeline of events which seeks to exonerate the agency heads who have come under fire at committee hearings. The report claims the Illinois Department of Public Health responded with specific instructions within 27 minutes after learning of a second confirmed case. The report also claims the staff at the veterans home began implementing IDPH’s instructions, including informing families, within 15 hours of learning of a second case of Legionnaires.

The report also seeks to correct a series of accusations made in a House Resolution, including one claim which said the administration had not made this outbreak a top priority, and it says former governors and the General Assembly share in the blame for ignoring requests for maintenance upgrades and allowing the facility to fall into disrepair.

During a Capitol Connection interview, Rauner’s new project manager at the veterans home Mike Hoffman set out to correct what he called a “false narrative.” Hoffman said this new report will show the Rauner administration took swift action during a chaotic situation. He says the administration has documentation to verify each claim made in the report.

The report is here.

* Pritzker campaign…

Bruce Rauner’s administration is continuing to defend his fatal mismanagement of the Quincy Veterans’ Home while stonewalling legislators investigating the Legionnaires’ crisis.

In a 35-page report made public yesterday, the Rauner administration sought to correct “misconceptions around perceived notification delays,” but failed to address the “mind-boggling…inexcusable” six days it waited to publicize the Legionnaires’ outbreak. The administration tried and failed to downplay the delay, noting one IDPH official described the situation as a “possible outbreak” even though they later noted it as “the beginning of an epidemic.”

“While Bruce Rauner refuses to release the emails documenting his fatal mismanagement of the Quincy Veterans’ Home, his administration is on defense,” said Pritzker campaign spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh. “This failed governor pays lip service to transparency while covering up evidence of administration-wide failures to get Veterans the care they deserve.”

…Adding… DGA…

Over the weekend, Governor Bruce Rauner’s administration released a new report which “push[es] back forcefully” against “misconceptions” about their response to Legionnaires’ outbreaks at the state-run Quincy Veterans’ Home. The report falls right in line with Rauner’s attitude that they “would not do anything different” in the aftermath of 13 deaths and years of continued outbreaks.

Rauner’s week-long stay following the release of a WBEZ investigative report was spun as “gain[ing] a more thorough understanding” about the home and his administration quietly appointed an official to oversee the response three years after the first outbreak. His team has attacked reporters’ integrity, accused workers at the home of lying, hampered a legislative inquiry, and over-redacted emails to lawmakers. Even now, his administration began blaming prior administrations for the conditions at Quincy.

“Bruce Rauner is simply unable to admit failure or take responsibility for any mismanagement under his utter lack of leadership,” said DGA Illinois Communications Director Sam Salustro. “13 people died due to three years of Legionnaires’ outbreaks at a state-run facility and Bruce Rauner is still more concerned with spinning the news than finding solutions.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

15 Comments
  1. - illini - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 1:16 pm:

    Deny, deflect and obfuscate the details - sounds like a winning strategy to me.


  2. - theq - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 1:20 pm:

    once again the lack of self awareness astounds me…. and integrity and honesty and……


  3. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 1:21 pm:

    ===…but failed to address the “mind-boggling…inexcusable” six days it waited to publicize the Legionnaires’ outbreak. The administration tried and failed to downplay the delay, noting one IDPH official described the situation as a “possible outbreak” even though they later noted it as “the beginning of an epidemic.”===

    If this can be canned and then put to use every time Rauner if his Administration try to pass off responsibility, that will be the response Rauner, his Administration, his apologists can’t walk back.

    It’s about the now, the deaths, and the aftermath.

    Good focus here.

    No quarter, no passes, no off-day to Rauner.

    24/7/365

    “Bruce Rauner failed”, and keep reminding us of that… like that grab above.


  4. - Rabid - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 1:24 pm:

    Time line on the second case, where is the time line on the first


  5. - Leigh John-Ella - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 1:36 pm:

    35-page report.
    Nice to know that CYA is the priority.


  6. - wordslinger - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 1:42 pm:

    In this timeline, do they notify residents’ families, workers and the public before six days have passed?

    You know, fiction?


  7. - Claud Peppers - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 1:46 pm:

    The guy hired to fix the problem is instead wasting time with this? Mr. Hoffman was are you doing to protect these vets?


  8. - Jocko - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 2:02 pm:

    In their own words, Bruce’s office was informed on 8/24 and the press release wasn’t sent out until 8/27.


  9. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 2:07 pm:

    I’ll wait for McKinney to cross-check the FOIA’d emails with this before commenting.


  10. - Anonymous - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 2:23 pm:

    So Hoffman’s role is to whitewash?


  11. - Eire17 - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 2:31 pm:

    Mike Hoffman served this country for 15 years as a Marine. He has been overseas in Iraq, Afghanistan twice, Africa, Asia and Egypt. He didn’t cause this problem and only recently accepted the challenge of trying to fix it because of his dedication to veterans and the issues they face. Let’s give the guy a chance.


  12. - My New Handle - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 2:55 pm:

    “…15 years as a Marine.” Past service is no indication of future performance in government.


  13. - A Jack - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 3:00 pm:

    Giving Hoffman a chance does not include excusing prior mismanagement. He should be telling us what he will do, not trying to shift blame. A good marine or any veteran learned early in basic to accept blame and move on.


  14. - Anonymous - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 11:59 pm:

    When you need 35 pages to explain you’re losing the argument


  15. - Rabid - Tuesday, Apr 17, 18 @ 7:23 am:

    Exhibit C for the prosecution


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