Tinley Park Mental Health Center faces closure

September 9, 2011

Service Cuts

By Ashley Rueff TribLocal reporter September 9, 2011 at 8:35 a.m.

Gov. Pat Quinn put the Tinley Park Mental Health Center on the chopping block Thursday when he announced his plan to close seven state facilities and layoff 1,938 state employees as part of his budget-cutting plan.

Quinn said the state budget passed by the General Assembly did not include enough money to fund all state agency operations for the year. His announced closures and layoffs should cover about $54.8 million of an estimated $313.5 million budget shortfall, according to information released from his office. The 53-year-old Tinley Park Mental Health Center employs 195 of the state workers set to be laid off.

Anders Lindall, spokesman for the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees 31, said Quinn is not honoring a commitment he made to AFSCME employees when he agreed not to make layoffs or facility closures before June 2012. As part of the agreement, AFSCME employees agreed to furlough and raise deferments.

Quinn said earlier this week that the agreement became moot when the General Assembly did not provide enough funding in the budget.

“We strongly disagree with the governor’s argument,” Lindall said, adding that he is confident the courts will agree with AFSCME. “For the state to simply say the terms we committed to are inconvenient so we’re walking away from them, we don’t think that will hold up in the court of public opinion and ultimately in the court of public law.”

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