Gov. Pat Quinn has signed legislation that overhauls the state’s grant oversight and accountability process.
The Grant Accountability and Transparency Act strengthens and streamlines requirements for state grants from all state agencies and will provide unprecedented protections for taxpayers, Quinn said in a press release.
“What happened with the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative program was unacceptable and should never happen at any state agency,” Quinn said. “When I learned of these issues, I took responsibility by defunding the program and shutting it down, and today I am instituting the strongest reforms in the nation. This new law will make Illinois the first state in the country with a comprehensive set of uniform rules covering the entire life cycle of a grant and will make state grantees more accountable to taxpayers than ever before.”
The $54 million Neighborhood Recovery Initiative program is under federal investigation after a scathing state auditor’s report. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, 7 percent of funding intended for the city of Chicago was given to the husband of Cook County’s circuit court clerk.
House Bill 2747 was recommended by the Illinois Single Audit Commission, which Quinn worked with legislators to create. The bill’s reforms include stronger state grant procedures to bring them all up to federal standards; improved conflict of interest disclosure requirements; and strict, real-time auditing of all state grants. The legislation also builds on a law the governor signed in 2012 that strengthened grant procedures for human service agencies.