A Rauner administration official said a recent audit of three state anti-violence programs shows how politicians’ failure to follow rules can lead to bad results for taxpayers.
An Auditor General report described a host of problems with former Gov. Pat Quinn’s community-based violence prevention programs, after-school programs and the Chicago-area program.
Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, or ICJIA, Executive Director John Maki said the report raises questions about the effectiveness of the tens of millions of dollars these programs spent between November 2012 and August 2014.
“It’s not enough simply just to spend money,” Maki said. “If we spend money but we don’t ask the right questions going into it, at the very best we simply won’t know what we’ve done. At the very worst we can actually make things worse.”
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Among the many problems the audit found were the Quinn administration interfering in the grantee selection process, grantee salaries being higher than allowable and background checks not being performed in programs involving youth employment.
Officials are working to recover more than $5 million misspent or overspent by the programs.
Maki said the office will use the report as a foundation to recover more than $5 million – a result of the Quinn-era programs not following their own rules.
“We’re in the beginning of our initial review and we’re going to go after every questioned expense as aggressively and expeditiously as possible,” Maki said. “And that process is starting right now.”
Maki said the Quinn-era programs have ended and the audit provides ICJIA guidance on what the agency needs to do to ensure the uncovered problems never happen again.