State Seal ColorSPRINGFIELD – Individuals with disabilities who for years have worked to take care of state office buildings are concerned about their future after recent news that the State of Illinois has hired a private property management firm to manage several state buildings. That firm was hired under a contract that was signed by the previous administration in October 2018.

State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) recently raised her concerns to Central Management Services (CMS) after hearing the private firm was terminating several State Use Program contracts. The State Use Program provides long-term employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities that work for qualified non-profits.

“What kind of example is the state setting with this kind of policy? Pushing aside dedicated individuals who for years have diligently worked on behalf of taxpayers is unfathomable,” Morrison said.

Recently, a provider agency that has a program in Rockford was notified their state contract would be terminated due to the new firm assuming management responsibilities. The new firm, Jones Lang LaSalle, is the largest publicly traded commercial real estate brokerage firm in the world.

“For decades the State Use Program has provided a path for adults with significant developmental disabilities to obtain jobs and state agencies to obtain high quality goods and services,” said Josh Evans, President and CEO of the Illinois Association of Rehabilitation Facilities. “The contract issued by the Bureau of Property Management to Jones Lang LaSalle under the previous administration bypassed the State Use Program and sets a bad precedent in terms of potentially reducing job opportunities for adults with significant developmental disabilities.”

Morrison has been working on legislation to encourage state agencies to hire individuals with disabilities, including a proposal that would require each state agency to devote more resources to navigating programs for hiring disabled persons.

Morrison has vowed to continue working on these proposals in the weeks and months ahead.

“We as a state owe it to individuals with disabilities to work to expand opportunity, whether that is in housing or employment,” Morrison said.