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Houses, Gift Cards, And Investigations: Rauner’s DCFS Scandal Deepens

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Tribune Reports Rauner Had Findings of DCFS Investigation, But Still Asked Ex-Head Sheldon to Stay

Today, the Chicago Tribune continued its investigation into the scandal-plagued tenure of George Sheldon at the Department of Children and Family Services. Sheldon resigned amidst investigations into his management of DCFS, and the agency’s handling of Semaj Crosby’s tragic death. Just days after Sheldon’s resignation, Rauner refused to admit Sheldon was wrong for the job.

The Chicago Tribune reported today that Bruce Rauner was given the findings of an Inspector General’s report into Sheldon’s mismanagement and insider deals, and his office agreed with the findings of the investigation. Despite this, Rauner still “personally urged” Sheldon to stay on.

“A series of confidential state watchdog findings were given to Gov. Bruce Rauner in the weeks before Sheldon resigned on June 15. While he admitted some lapses of judgment, Sheldon said the reports had no bearing on his decision to leave DCFS. Rauner personally urged him to remain in Illinois, Sheldon said: ‘He asked me to stay on as recently as a few weeks before I left.’  

“Rauner spokeswoman Laurel Patrick said the governor’s office concurred with a report from [Executive Inspector General Maggie] Hickey that alleges Sheldon violated state conflict of interest rules. However, the spokeswoman said Hickey’s findings and the governor’s response cannot be made public until they have been approved by the state’s Executive Ethics Commission, which is scheduled to meet behind closed doors on July 26. ‘We respect the investigatory independent function of the (Executive Inspector General) and take seriously all employees’ ethical obligations,’ Patrick said. ‘We agreed in full with the report’s recommendations and are working to implement them.’”

If the public has learned anything this week, it is that Rauner’s staffing decisions are questionable.

“In the two months since his hand-picked head of DCFS resigned, Rauner has not publicly addressed the scandal emerging from the agency,” said DGA Illinois Communications Director Sam Salustro. “Now the public has to learn from the news media that Rauner was informed of insider-deals and gross mismanagement, but still asked the head of DCFS to stay on. Rauner’s failure of leadership should be concerning to Illinois families and communities.”