• IDOC director found guilty of ethics violations

    by  • January 30, 2013 • News

    According to the Associated Press, an investigation has found that Gov. Pat Quinn’s prisons department violated policy when it hired an administrator with political clout but who didn’t meet job qualifications.

    The Illinois executive ethics commission report Wednesday indicated the man had experience teaching theater, running a movie store and managing the political office for his father’s campaign.

    IDOC Director S.A. "Tony" Godinez

    IDOC Director S.A. “Tony” Godinez

    Sen. Dave Luechtefeld, R-Okawville, said Wednesday that the finding adds to the suspicions that there are problems in the corrections department. He also responded to questions regarding Senate Resolution 1004, filed last year by now retired Senator John O. Jones, of Mt. Vernon, that called for a review of IDOC and allegations of misconduct.

    “I don’t think Senator Jones would have just filed that measure without a reason. I think he felt there were big problems in DOC and I think today’s findings add to that concern,” responded Luechtefeld. “We’ll have to see what happens next week when the Senate is back in session, but I’ve asked the caucus to take up this issue.”

    Jones’ measure also urged the governor to seek the immediate resignations of IDOC Director S.A. “Tony” Godinez, his executive chief of staff, his deputy chief of operations and Southern Illinois Deputy Director Ty Bates, then begin an immediate internal investigation into the alleged negligence and corruption within the Illinois Department of Corrections.

    The Quad City Times reports the man hired is 31-year-old Lou Hare, son of former Congressman Phil Hare. According to the publication, Lou Hare is currently an Assistant Warden at East Moline Correctional Center.

    The corrections department job requires specialized knowledge of penal administration, criminology and the behavior of incarcerated people, says the AP.

    According to IDOC, Hare’s assistant warden position oversees overall program functions, including health care services, chaplaincy and clinical services, the records office and leisure activity. The position also gathers data on current and anticipated programs, and it involves making recommendations to management.

    Lou Hare told the Times Wednesday he should be judged on how he performs, noting he was a prevention specialist at his former employer, the Rock Island County Council on Addictions, he specialized in program implementation, working closely with organizations to deliver classroom programs to large conferences, assisting with GED courses and summer-long programs with youth. Hare worked there for nearly five years.

    He cited his bachelor’s degree with majors in journalism, radio and television and theater from St. Ambrose University, as well as a master’s of fine arts degree from Western Illinois University, as contributing factors in getting the job of assistant warden at the East Moline Correctional Center.

    The OEIG report says corrections director S.A. “Tony” Godinez and his top assistant Jerry Buscher were responsible for hiring Hare in late 2011.

    One of Quinn’s lawyers responded to the report saying a review showed Hare “has achieved the requisite” experience for the job.

    In 1990, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Rutan v. Republican Party of Illinois’ that public officials could not use political affiliation and support as a basis for hiring, promotion, transfer, or recall decisions for non policy-making positions.

    Policy-making positions, for which consideration of political affiliation is permitted have come to be known as “Rutan-exempt,” and includes the position for which Lou Hare was hired.

    But the commission noted that Corrections listed six detailed qualifications for the post, and that state policy requires an agency to ensure a hiring candidate “meets the minimum training and experience qualifications for the position.”

    The elder Hare told the Q-C Times Wednesday that he didn’t pull any strings to get his son hired but only notified him of the opening after hearing about it from an employee there. He said he also had notified his son of other job openings, including in the private sector.

    The former congressman said the only call he made on the matter was to IDOC Chief of Staff Luke Hartigan to thank him after his son received the job.