Metro-East News

He gave them a $1.1 million taxpayer-funded contract. Then he went to work for them.

Murray Center hearing

Arc of Illinois' Tony Paulauski, an advocate for placing the developmentally disabled adults in group homes, and Rita Winkeler, a leader of the Murray Parents Association, react to the end of a 2014 hearing in Chicago.
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Arc of Illinois' Tony Paulauski, an advocate for placing the developmentally disabled adults in group homes, and Rita Winkeler, a leader of the Murray Parents Association, react to the end of a 2014 hearing in Chicago.

A former state employee was fined by the Illinois Executive Ethics Commission for not disclosing consulting work he did for a company to which he had also awarded a state contract

Mark Doyle, a former Illinois Department of Human Services employee tasked with the closure of the Warren G. Murray Center in Centralia, was fined $154,056 for violating the state’s revolving door law.

The fine is equal to the compensation he received from Georgia-based Community Resource Associates, Inc., which is run by Derrick Dufresne, an acquaintance of Doyle’s. The two have known one another for more than 30 years, according to the ethic’s commission’s findings.

Doyle played a “substantial” part in hiring CRA to assist with closing closing the Murray Center and facilities like it.

His job at IDHS was to oversee the closing of Murray Center, Illinois’ only state-operated facility for people with behavioral and medical needs. It remains open, serving roughly 300 residents.

Doyle was offered a job at CRA in January 2015 and submitted a revolving door determination request to the ethics commission, which determined he could not accept the position due to his part in awarding them a $1.18 million contract.

The Executive Ethics Commission found that Doyle “brought CRA to the table and made a strong case as to why DHS should select them.” The findings stated that Doyle “enthusiastically encouraged” the Division of Developmental Disabilities to consider looking at the firm as a possible option.

After leaving the department, Doyle took the job with CRA, ignoring state law by accepting the consulting position less than 90 days after leaving his position with the state. He received $154,056.10 for his consulting with CRA between June 1, 2015 and February 15, 2016, which he received through a “conduit” subcontract with a company called BennBrook.

He has been ordered to pay all of his earnings back to the state.

In 2014, under then Governor Pat Quinn, the Murray Center was slated to be closed. The closure was delayed with lawsuits and later by the long process of moving residents out of the facility.

Part of Doyle’s job included moving residents of the centers to community-based care facilities and small group homes.

Parents of residents who lived at the center fought to stop state budget cuts from closing the center. As of May 2019, it remains open.

Kavahn Mansouri covers government accountability for the Belleville News-Democrat, holding officials and institutions accountable and tracking how taxpayer money is spent.
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