State of Illinois
91st General Assembly

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 1        AN ACT to amend the Department of Veterans Affairs Act by
 2    adding Section 15.

 3        Be  it  enacted  by  the People of the State of Illinois,
 4    represented in the General Assembly:

 5        Section 5. The Department  of  Veterans  Affairs  Act  is
 6    amended by adding Section 15 as follows:

 7        (20 ILCS 2805/15 new)
 8        Sec. 15. Inspector General.
 9        (a)  The Governor shall nominate and, with the advice and
10    consent  of  the  Senate,  appoint  an Inspector General, who
11    shall function  within  the  Department  and  report  to  the
12    Director  and  the  Governor.   The  Inspector  General shall
13    review  the  operations  and  financial  condition  of   each
14    Illinois  veterans  home;  review the operation and financial
15    condition  of  veterans'  programs  receiving  State  moneys,
16    including, but not limited  to,  County  Veterans  Assistance
17    Commissions   and   veteran's   memorials;   and  investigate
18    allegations of misconduct by Department employees.
19        The Inspector General must adopt rules  establishing  the
20    minimum   requirements   for  (i)  the  conduct  of  reviews,
21    including reviews conducted at the request of the Governor or
22    members of the General Assembly, (ii)  reporting  allegations
23    of   misconduct,   and   (iii)  initiating,  conducting,  and
24    completing  investigations  and  reviews.    The  rules  must
25    establish a toll-free telephone number  for  the  purpose  of
26    identifying  alleged wrongdoing regarding veterans' programs.
27    The  telephone  number  must  be  posted  at  every  Illinois
28    veterans home, in all Department offices, and at each  County
29    Veterans Assistance Commission in clear view of all residents
30    and  employees and the public. The adopted rules must clearly
31    set forth that in instances where 2 or  more  State  agencies
                            -2-                LRB9112861MWdv
 1    could  investigate an allegation of misconduct, the Inspector
 2    General may not conduct an investigation that is redundant to
 3    an investigation conducted  by  another  State  agency.   The
 4    rules must establish criteria for determining, based upon the
 5    nature   of   the   allegation,  the  appropriate  method  of
 6    investigation, which may include, but need not be limited to,
 7    site visits, telephone  contacts,  or  requests  for  written
 8    responses  from  agencies.  Any allegations or investigations
 9    made pursuant to  this  Section,  and  the  identity  of  any
10    individual requesting a review or investigation, shall remain
11    confidential  until  a  final  report  is  completed.   Final
12    reports  regarding  unsubstantiated  or unfounded allegations
13    must remain confidential.
14        The Inspector General shall be appointed for a term of  4
15    years.
16        (b)  The  Inspector  General  must, within 24 hours after
17    receiving a request for a review or  a  report  of  suspected
18    misconduct, determine whether the evidence indicates that any
19    possible  criminal  act  has  been  committed.  If  he or she
20    determines that a possible criminal act has  been  committed,
21    or  that  special expertise is required in the investigation,
22    the Inspector General must immediately notify the  Department
23    of  State  Police.  The  Department  of  State  Police  shall
24    investigate any report indicating a possible murder, rape, or
25    other  felony.  All investigations conducted by the Inspector
26    General must be conducted in a manner designed to ensure  the
27    preservation  of  evidence  for  possible  use  in a criminal
28    prosecution.
29        (c)  The Inspector General must make a  determination  to
30    accept or reject a preliminary report of the investigation of
31    alleged   wrongdoing   based   on  established  investigative
32    procedures.   The  employee,  veterans  home,  or   veterans'
33    program may request clarification or reconsideration based on
34    additional   information.    For   cases  where  the  alleged
                            -3-                LRB9112861MWdv
 1    wrongdoing  is  substantiated,  the  Inspector  General  must
 2    require  a  written  response  from  the  veterans  home   or
 3    veterans'  program.   The written response must address, in a
 4    concise and reasoned manner, the actions that will  be  taken
 5    to prevent future misconduct or wrongdoing.
 6        The Inspector General must, within 10 calendar days after
 7    the  transmittal  date  of  a  completed  investigation where
 8    wrongdoing  is  substantiated  or  administrative  action  is
 9    recommended, provide a complete report on  the  case  to  the
10    Director  and  to  the  veterans home or program in which the
11    wrongdoing is alleged to have happened.  If the investigation
12    was conducted at the request of the Governor or a  member  of
13    the General Assembly, the Inspector General must also provide
14    the  report  to  the Governor or to the member of the General
15    Assembly who requested the investigation.
16        The complete report must include the written response  to
17    the Inspector General that addresses the actions that will be
18    taken  to  prevent  future  misconduct or wrongdoing and must
19    include  implementation  and  completion  dates   for   those
20    actions.
21        The  Director must accept or reject the response and must
22    establish how  the  Department  will  determine  whether  the
23    veterans  home  or  veterans'  program  followed the approved
24    response. The Director may require  Department  personnel  to
25    visit  the  veterans  home or veterans' program for training,
26    technical   assistance,   programmatic,   or    certification
27    purposes.  Administrative action, including sanctions, may be
28    applied if the  Director  rejects  the  response  or  if  the
29    veterans  home  or  veterans'  program  fails  to  follow the
30    approved response. There must be an appeals process  for  any
31    person,  veterans  home, or veterans' program that is subject
32    to any action based upon a recommendation  of  the  Inspector
33    General.
34        (d)  The   Inspector   General   may   recommend  to  the
                            -4-                LRB9112861MWdv
 1    Department sanctions to be imposed against a veterans home or
 2    veterans' program under the jurisdiction of  the  Department,
 3    including  the  appointment of on-site monitors or receivers,
 4    the transfer or relocation of residents, and the  closure  of
 5    units.  The  Inspector General may seek the assistance of the
 6    Attorney General or any of the State's Attorneys in  imposing
 7    the sanctions.
 8        (e)  The  Inspector  General  must  establish and conduct
 9    periodic   training   programs   for   Department   employees
10    concerning the prevention and reporting of misconduct.
11        (f)  The Inspector General must at all times  be  granted
12    access  to any veterans home operated by the Department, must
13    establish and conduct unannounced site visits to those  homes
14    at least once each calendar year, and must be granted access,
15    for  the  purpose  of  reviewing  the operation and financial
16    condition of the facility  or  program  or  of  investigating
17    employee  misconduct,  to  each facility or program funded by
18    the Department that is subject  to  the  provisions  of  this
19    Section.
20        (g)  The  Inspector  General may make any recommendations
21    he or she deems necessary for  improving  the  operations  of
22    veterans' programs to the Director and the General Assembly.
23        (h)  In   addition   to   all  other  causes  of  action,
24    penalties, or other  remedies  provided  by  law,  any  State
25    officer  or  employee  who  intentionally  engages in acts of
26    reprisal, retaliation, threats,  coercion,  or  similar  acts
27    against  a person making an allegation of wrongdoing, in good
28    faith,  that  is  supported  by   the   Inspector   General's
29    investigation  or  review  shall  be  liable in an action for
30    damages brought against him or  her  by  the  injured  party.
31    Punitive  damages  may be awarded by the circuit court if the
32    acts of the offending party are proven to be malicious.   The
33    injured party may also be awarded reasonable attorneys' fees.
34        (i)  Nothing in this Section limits investigations by the
                            -5-                LRB9112861MWdv
 1    Department  that  are  otherwise  required by law or that are
 2    necessary  in  the  Department's  capacity  as  the   central
 3    administrative  authority  responsible  for  the operation of
 4    Illinois veterans homes.

 5        Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect on July
 6    1, 2001.

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