Reporting Mike Parker
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CHICAGO (CBS) — A top Democratic state lawmaker is accusing Gov. Quinn of cowardice for the way his administration handled a scandal at the state’s child-welfare agency.
State Rep. Jack Franks, D-Woodstock, says Quinn knew in April that Erwin McEwen, then the head of the Department of Children and Family Services, was refusing to cooperate in a state inspector general’s investigation.
The IG was looking into fraudulent billing, bid-rigging and ghost payrollers at DCFS. Quinn waited five months, until Aug. 25, to call for his department head’s resignation.
“The governor just should have fired the guy when he knew,” Franks told CBS 2’s Mike Parker on Saturday.
Quinn said his administration was allowing due process.
“You have to obey the laws of Illinois, and that’s exactly what I did. When the process was completed, when due process was done, the director was relieved of his duties, and he resigned,” the governor said.
Franks countered that Quinn behaved in a “cowardly” fashion.
“The governor’s argument was we wanted him to resign because we were scared if we fired him we’d get sued. I said, how cowardly,” Franks said.
Franks says the scandal at DCFS will cost taxpayers $18 million, perhaps more.
The Illinois attorney general’s office on Friday said it is working to recover some of the money, which was given to a contractor accused of billing for shoddy or non-existent work, the Associated Press reported.
The case has been referred to federal prosecutors.