The wife of Jack Lavin, Gov. Pat Quinn’s chief of staff, is a director for Neumann Family Services, a Chicago organization that has over 30 community living arrangement or CILA homes in Illinois.
CILA homes, of course, are the direction Quinn has been touting as the preferred alternative to the state operated developmental centers he is looking to close, such as the Warren G. Murray center here in Centralia and the recently shuttered Jacksonville Developmental Center.
In addition to her position at Neumann Family Services, Kathy Lavin was part of a lawsuit that prompted the movement of individuals with developmental disabilities from nursing homes to community based residences.
Senator Kyle McCarter of Lebanon says of this news that given the culture of corruption the state is attempting to come out of, it is terribly unfortunate the people in charge cannot avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest such as this.
Senator John O. Jones of Mt. Vernon commented that he was not surprised by the finding, and believes it will take an entirely new administration to turn around the culture of corruption in Illinois.
Jones says both Quinn and Blagojevich missed great opportunities, but didn’t learn from their predecessors.
“Rod Blagojevich came in on the heels of George Ryan and had a great opportunity to change things and clean house, instead he followed the same path. Pat Quinn came in on the heels of Blagojevich being impeached and indicted and he not only kept Rod’s people, he promoted them,” he said in reference to Jack Lavin, a holdover from the Blagojevich administration.
Calls to the governor’s office for comment on this possible conflict of interest have not yet been returned.
In other similar news, more craigslist ads looking for foster placements of developmentally disabled individuals in homes throughout Southern Illinois, Chicago and specifically Centralia.
LifeShare management group, a corporation based in New Hampshire, is promising people $25,000 a year to open their home to a developmentally disabled person and say they will provide training and certification, along with state and local background checks.
Januari Smith-Trader, spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Human Services notes that at this time, no company, including LifeShare, has a contract with the State of Illinois to handle the placement of Murray Center residents.