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Illinois Issues
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Jackie Garner of Springfield is Gov. George Ryan's choice to be the new director of the Illinois Department of Public Aid. Garner has been a senior policy adviser to the governor.

Ann Patia resigned as director of the Illinois Department of Public Aid, which came under fire in 1999 when a new system for distributing child-support checks ran into numerous snafus (see Illinois Issues, April 2000, page 14).

Laura Zaremba of Chicago is now deputy chief of staff for state Comptroller Dan Hynes. She was promoted from director of local government.

Carol Reckamp of Chicago was promoted within the comptroller's office to take over as director of local government.

Hynes also named a new press secretary. Karen Craven of Chicago replaces Porter McNeil, who moved to Moline to start his own consulting firm. Craven previously worked as managing editor of CC News, a business trade publication based in Portland, Maine. Prior to that, she was a staff writer for the Chicago Tribune and a municipal reporter for the Arlington-Heights-based Daily Herald.

Wade Nelson of River Forest is the new division supervisor for media relations at the State Board of Education. He will be a Chicago-based spokesman for the board as it puts together a proposal to streamline the agency. Gov. Ryan called for an overhaul of the agency in his January State of the State address. Nelson was executive assistant and press secretary for former U.S. Sen. Alan Dixon and served as special assistant to former Cook County Circuit Clerk Aurelia Pucinski.

Dan Vock of West Chicago is the new Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin. He replaces Aaron Chambers, who joined Illinois Issues. Vock was an intern with the Law Bulletin while in the Public Affairs Reporting program at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

Richard Ringeisen

U of I has a new chancellor

Richard Ringeisen says the public affairs mission at the University of Illinois at Springfield was among the major attributes attracting him to the campus. He will become UIS's chancellor in April, pending formal approval this month by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees. President James J. Stukel announced Ringeisen's appointment last month. 

Ringeisen, 56, has been vice chancellor for academic affairs at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C., since 1996. Before that, he has been dean of the College of Sciences at Old Dominion University and head of the Mathematical Sciences Department at Clemson University.

About plans to add freshmen and sophomores as part of a new Capital Scholars program, Ringeisen says, "We will create something [at UIS] that has not been created before in higher education." He says the Springfield campus, which currently enrolls only graduate and upper-level undergraduate students, would maintain its focus on public affairs and serving older, nontraditional students.

New foundation staff

Julia Stasch of Chicago is the new vice president of The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation's program on human and community development. Prior to joining the foundation, she worked for the city of Chicago as commissioner of the Department of Housing and most recently as chief of staff for Mayor Richard M. Daley. She also served as president and chief operating officer of Stein and Co., a Chicago-based real estate development and construction firm, and as deputy administrator of the General Services Administration in Washington, D.C., during President Bill Clinton's first term.


"...the investigative record establishes the insidious presence of organized crime elements associated with this proposed project that cannot be ignored. "

Illinois Gaming Board Administrator Sergio Acosta in a statement to the board before its surprising 4-1 vote against the politically connected Emerald riverboat project proposed for the Cook County community of Rosemont. Until the panel's vote, the project appeared to be a lock. In 1999, lawmakers voted to permit the transfer of an unused license to the Rosemont group, and, in January, a Cook County judge dismissed a challenge to that law.

"People in charge of public policy attempt to balance the benefits of the free market with the protection of the consumer, and that balance is very often impossible to achieve. "

Former Federal Communications Chairman Newton Minow as quoted by Tim Jones in the Chicago Tribune. Referring to advances in telecommunications since passage of the 1996 federal law deregulating the industry, Minow noted that "technology moves much faster and more unpredictably than public policy." Jones' assessment, written on the eve of the fifth anniversary of the federal law, was that promised consumer benefits from increased competition were too good to be true.

Q&A Question & Answer

Benjamin Miller

He retired from the Illinois Supreme Court at the end of January. And though Miller will now indulge his passion for sailing, he also will turn his attention to legal and ethical issues arising from genetic research, specifically the Human Genome Project, a 13-year study coordinated by the United States Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health to identify the genes in human DNA. Rodd Whelpley talked with Miller. This is an edited version of that conversation.

Q. What might occur from this work on the human genome?

It's possible now to harvest half a dozen eggs from a woman and fertilize each in separate test tubes, and a short time later test to see what sort of a child would be produced, even down to some personality characteristics that are genetically based, and then let the woman decide among those six. There are all sorts of ethical questions in connection with that.

Q.How did you become interested in this?

As changes occur in society and medical technology, the law is confronted with new and different problems. From a legal standpoint, I had a case some time ago, Goldberg v. Ruskin, that involved wrongful life ? not wrongful death ? the question of a child who was born with a genetic defect. The mother alleged that if she had known that the child was going to be born with this defect she would have aborted. And the question then is whether the child who is born with the defect has a cause of action against the doctor for having been born at all.

More recently, more directly, I was invited to be one of 25 judges to attend a symposium on genetic biology at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York. Over a five-day period all of this material was presented by scientists and doctors, and I became very interested and very involved in it.

Q.How are judges trained to handle scientific information, and do you expect that to be changing soon?

I expect that to be changing because things become more specialized and require more specialized knowledge.


DCFS earns national award for adoption placements

Illinois foster children go to permanent homes much faster than they did four years ago. As a result, the Department of Children and Family Services' foster care caseload has dropped by more than half since 1997, and the agency has won the Innovations in American Government Award from the Ford Foundation.

A reason cited for the caseload decline is a new program that rewards placement in permanent homes and penalizes contractors who underperform.

Under the old system, service providers collected more state money as their caseloads increased, so they had a financial incentive not to move foster children into permanent homes. Foster care caseloads increased 146 percent between 1990 and 1997, according to the department, with the peak caseload reaching 51,000 children. That figure plummeted to about 30,000 when it applied for the Innovations in American Government Award last year. According to project manager Mike Shaver, the caseload was down to 25,650 at the end of January. The median number of months a child is in foster care has dropped from 56 to 32.

The agency's new performance-based contracting earned the agency a $100,000 prize from the Ford Foundation, as well as the award. The department and nine other winners were featured in a recent supplement of Governing magazine.

The awards program is funded by the Ford Foundation and administered by the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, in partnership with the Council for Excellence in Government.

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