ILLINOIS STATE REPRESENTATIVE CHARLIE MEIER: Former State Employee Tasked with Closing Murray Center Fined $154K for Violating Ethics Act

By Press release submission | May 13, 2019

Illinois State Representative Charlie Meier issued the following announcement on May 6.

The Executive Ethics Commission of the State of Illinois fined former Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) employee Mark Doyle for violating the revolving door prohibition of the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act. Doyle violated state law less than 90 days after leaving his position with the State of Illinois. Mark Doyle’s primary task at IDHS was to oversee the closing of Murray Center, the only State Operated Developmental Center (SODC) serving central Illinois and parts of southern Illinois located in Centralia.

Instead of adhering to the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act in Illinois by waiting a year to take his new position with Georgia contractor CRA-C, Doyle ignored state law on April 25, 2015 by accepting a consulting position with Georgia contractor CRA-C – a violation of the revolving door prohibition. Doyle received $154,056.10 from BennBrook for his consulting work with CRA-C between June 1, 2015 and February 15, 2016. When Doyle was employed by the State of Illinois, IDHS contracted with CRA. Doyle and CRA’s founder have been acquainted for more than 30 years.

“I questioned the integrity of certain people put in place to close Murray Center when I began the fight to Keep Murray Center Open,” said State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville). “This only confirms my assumptions were true. It appears certain individuals care more about profit and getting their friends state contracts than they care about providing the quality and standards of care our most vulnerable should expect to receive.”

Mark Doyle was employed by the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) between 2011 and February 15, 2015, he was responsible for overseeing the closure of certain State-operated developmental and psychiatric care centers such as Murray Center, which included moving the residents of these centers to community-based care facilities and small group homes. Doyle worked closely with the State of Illinois contractor, Community Resource Associates, Inc. (CRA) to assist with the closures and transitions. Less than 90 days after leaving IDHS, Doyle was hired by CRA-C in Georgia, essentially the same contractor he worked closely with at the Illinois Department of Human Services.

According to the revolving door prohibition of the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act, 5 ILCS 430/5-45 section (b) No former State employee of the executive branch with regulatory or licensing authority, shall, within a period of one year immediately after termination of State employment, knowingly accept employment or receive compensation or fees for services from a person or entity if the officer or State employee, during the year immediately preceding termination of State employment, participated personally and substantially in making a regulatory or licensing decision that directly applied to the person or entity, or its parent or subsidiary.

The Ethics Act does not provide any guidance for the Executive Ethics Commission to consider when levying a fine. The Commission, however, has adopted rules outlining 14 aggravating and mitigating factors that the Commission may consider when assessing an appropriate fine, the Commission found former Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) employee Mark Doyle to be in violation of three of fourteen aggravating and mitigating factors; (1) Doyle wrongfully obtained $154,056.10; (2) Doyle knew that he was restricted from accepting compensation from CRA-C, yet he was actively directing BennBrook to obtain reimbursement for his work from CRA-C; and (3) There is no evidence that Doyle has been previously disciplined for violations of the Ethics Act. Furthermore, the for the foregoing reasons, the Commission levied an administrative fine of $154,056.10 against Mark Doyle for violating the revolving door prohibition of the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act.

Original source can be found here.

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