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Hunter: Minority-owned businesses are a huge part of the economic and social progress of the America

SPRINGFIELD – Today, members of the Senate’s Executive Committee called a special hearing to question a Rauner administration agency head over a questionable contract to streamline a state employee health insurance process. Central Management Services Director Michael Hoffman was asked to testify about the deep concerns expressed by State Senator Mattie Hunter (D- Chicago) and other legislators surrounding previous mismanagement and poorly executed actions of the agency.

The subcommittee took place after the Associated Press reported that Governor Bruce Rauner’s administration purposefully ignored state guidelines aimed to encourage minority-owned business opportunities. The investigation also revealed that the administration awarded the contract to Georgia-based Morneau Shepell, a suspected favored contractor.

“While there are number of issues with the online employee benefits system, the initial procurement procedures are also extremely alarming considering the guidelines for minority-owned businesses were left out,” said Hunter. “Minority-owned businesses are a huge part of the economic and social progress of the American workforce. It’s a shame we have a governor that campaigns on growing businesses in the state of Illinois but makes it harder for minorities to succeed.”

During the subcommittee, legislators asked the agency to lay out some of the issues with the online insurance database, which over 400,000 public employees and retirees use to choose their own health care benefits. The Rauner administration’s $94 million initiative was touted to streamline health benefit choices but instead made matters worse for some workers.

“The process was rushed. I believe there should have been much more preparation in creating this online database,” said Hunter. “Today the director said only one contractor bid in the process. If that was the case, more time should have been dedicated to leveling the playing field for potential competing contractors.”

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