State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) today vowed to work with parents and legal counsel to continue to fight the planned closure of the Murray Developmental Center in Centralia. Meier said despite a recent court ruling that would permit the state to resume closure plans, there is still action that can be taken, and cause for residents’ families to be optimistic. Meier stressed that the federal lawsuit continues to move forward with only the temporary restraining order having been lifted.
“Parents, friends and supporters of Murray Center residents are now more organized and more determined than ever to continue the fight for their safety and quality of care. While the July Federal Court ruling was not what we had hoped for, it’s important to note that it upheld guardians’ right to choose what type of facility will provide their loved one the best care. The state cannot simply load them on busses and relocate them against their families’ will, as has been done at other locations. That in itself is a victory,” Meier said.
Meier said while the case continues in federal court, he is personally working on legislation to halt a multi-million dollar contract the Quinn administration has awarded to an out of state company to work on residents’ new placements.
“This contract is just more proof that Quinn’s Murray Center closure plan is not only dangerous, it’s a huge waste of taxpayer dollars – more than three million taxpayer dollars so far to contract with an out of state company for services the Murray Center families don’t need or want,” Meier said. “First of all, the closure issue is far from decided, but Governor Quinn declared this contract an emergency so he could award it without going out for bids. It has been awarded to a company being run out of the basement of a private home in Missouri.”
“Secondly, if the time comes when families need to make new arrangements for their loved ones at Murray, we already have employees on state payroll that are more than up to the task. The families have made it clear that they want to work with the social workers at Murray to come up with the best plan for future care, and they have every legal right to make that choice. I am drafting legislation to halt the unnecessary outside contract and prevent the administration from flushing any more of our hard-earned taxpayer dollars down the toilet,” Meier said.