The cost of chaos: Rauner administration inked $2.4M lease for a $750K warehouse

manar 040417

SPRINGFIELD – The Rauner administration signed a five-year, $2.4 million lease for warehouse space in Springfield that it could have purchased for $750,000, a key Senate budget committee learned Tuesday.

The wasteful taxpayer-funded lease is a direct consequence of the governor’s refusal to propose and negotiate a state budget for a third straight year.

“There is a cost associated with failing to budget and with planning on the fly like this,” said Senator Andy Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat and one of the Senate’s two appropriations committee chairmen. “This contract is a perfect example of how all Illinois taxpayers and their children eventually will pay a hefty price for Gov. Rauner’s inability to manage the state of Illinois in a reasonable, responsible manner.”

The contract was inked by the state’s Central Management Services on behalf of the Department of Human Services because DHS was desperate for a secure location to store records. According to testimony provided during Tuesday’s hearing:

  • DHS had been storing records in a state-owned building in Dwight, but it was not being maintained in a way that ensured the records were safe.
  • CMS put out for bid three times the need for warehouse space before settling on the Springfield location. Only two landlords responded – apparently a sign of property managers’ reluctance to do business with the state of Illinois, which is more than $12.6 billion behind in paying vendors.
  • The market value of the Springfield property is $1.1 million, and it could have been purchased by the state for $750,000; however, CMS is unable to purchase property at this time because of the lack of a state budget.
  • The Rauner administration continues to sign contracts with companies throughout Illinois while knowing there is no money appropriated in the budget to pay those companies.
  • DHS, with a green light from the governor’s office, handed out a total of $11 million in one-time bonuses to certain employees, even though Gov. Rauner suspended funding for autism, sexual assault, domestic violence and other programs.
  • The bonuses were handed out even as Gov. Rauner continues to object to state-authorized raises for direct-support employees who earn $9 per hour working for severely disabled individuals.

“I am troubled by all of this on so many levels, but ultimately what we have here is just another day of the governor making promises he can’t keep and refusing to do the job he was elected to do,” Manar said. “In other words, it’s business as usual for the Rauner administration.”

In the News: Watchdogs turned blind eye to wasteful spending

In the News: Manar questions state’s $2.4M lease of former Springfield furniture warehouse