Kudos to Western Illinois University librarians Bill Thompson and Jeff Hancks for their efforts to make local history more accessible.
Thompson and Hancks secured a grant from the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois, which they have used to put several historical societies’ newsletters on the Internet.
The project took about a year, but it was time well-spent. The historical societies’ newsletters can be found at http://collections.carli.illinois.edu/cdm4/index_wiu_hsn.php?CISOROOT=/wiu_hsn.
ATTORNEY GENERAL MUST INVESTIGATE PLANS TO SELL THOMSON PRISON
On November 15, Governor Pat Quinn announced that federal officials were looking to buy Thomson Correctional Center for use as a facility for housing suspected terrorists and other federal prisoners currently held at Guantanamo Bay.
The next day, I sent a letter to Attorney General Lisa Madigan asking her to investigate.
Both President Barack Obama and Governor Quinn have indicated that the Thomson prison facility is a potential site for housing prisoners suspected of terrorist activities that are.
As a member of the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability, I am would like the Attorney General to issue an opinion about this proposed transfer. I’m not sure that selling a prison in northwestern Illinois is a decision that the President or the Governor has the authority to make on their own. We suffered through this kind of high-handed behavior with the former Governor – trying to close prisons in Vandalia and Pontiac, or trying to move large state departments from one town to another. We have a law in place to ensure that big decisions like these are not made by just one person.
I would like the Attorney General to rule on three issues:
1) Will the State Facilities Closure Act apply and thus require a hearing before the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability?
2) Is the Thomson prison facility surplus property? If so, what procedures must be followed to dispose of it? Must it first be offered to other units of government within Illinois?
3) Is General Assembly approval required for all or any part of the proposed transaction to transfer the Thomson prison facility? If so, what needs General Assembly approval?
I asked the Attorney General to provide a prompt response, “as it appears that decisions regarding the use of the Thomson prison facility will be made in a rapid fashion, maybe even before the General Assembly convenes in January.”