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Tom Cullerton: Quincy staff is overworked and underappreciated by governor

vets staff 020818SPRINGFIELD - Staffing shortages and poor flow of information can be added to the list of mismanagement by the Rauner administration at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy.

The shortages came to light at a bipartisan Veterans Affairs Committee hearing convened by State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) Wednesday morning.

Nette Smith, who works at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy and is the President of the AFSCME Quincy chapter, outlined the staffing concerns Wednesday, noting healthcare personnel are working “tremendous amounts of overtime” while more than 40 positions remain open at the home.

“The staff at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy is doing an amazing job providing our veterans and their loved ones with the best possible care,” Cullerton said. “But it is alarming that they are over 40 open positions at the facility that need to be filled.”

When the outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease hit, Smith said she found out through media reports, and staff members were often unable to attend informational meetings regarding the outbreak because they were busy doing their jobs. On-duty staff members often missed the once-daily formal briefings and were not given more opportunities to be informed.

“Keeping staff in the dark is a disservice to not only the staff but the residents at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy,” Cullerton said. “How are medical personnel supposed to make sound and educated decisions without a complete picture?”

Cullerton is working toward a legislative remedy to implement staff notification requirements at state facilities such as the Quincy home, but he said the first step will be a basic level of respect from those in charge. 

“We have a staff that is overworked and underappreciated by Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration,” Cullerton said. “The staff comes to work every day and gives our veterans and their loved ones their very best. The governor’s office now needs to step up and give them the respect and care they deserve in return.”

PHOTO: Witnesses Nette Smith, President- AFSCME Quincy Chapter, and Ann Irving, Director of Public Policy- AFSCME Council 3, testify on staffing and communications issues at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy.

Sen. Tom Cullerton


23rd Legislative District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Committee assignments: Energy and Public Utilities; Insurance; Labor (Chairperson); State Government; Transportation; Veterans Affairs (Vice-Chairperson).

Biography: Born Sept. 20, 1969; studied at the University of Kansas; former village president and trustee of Villa Park; married (wife Stacey), three sons.

Associated Representatives:
Deb Conroy
Diane Pappas