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Quinn's pick for Prisoner Review Board under scrutiny

Quinn's pick for Prisoner Review Board under scrutiny

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SPRINGFIELD -- Another one of Gov. Pat Quinn's picks to serve in a high-level state job is facing scrutiny from Illinois lawmakers.

Just as Jonathon Monken's appointment as director of the Illinois State Police generated controversy because he had no experience running a large police force, the governor's decision to name Roger Walker to the Illinois Prisoner Review Board has raised eyebrows among Illinois senators.

Walker, who was appointed to the $85,800-per-year post in June, is facing questions related to his six-year tenure as head of the Illinois Department of Corrections.

In August, a report by Illinois Auditor General William Holland blasted the Department of Corrections for wasteful spending and poor record keeping.

The audit outlined how the agency, under Walker's direction, owed millions of dollars to other parts of state government and ran up millions in unapproved spending. It also noted how the agency didn't use money set aside to hire new guards in 2007 and 2008.

State Sen. Tony Munoz, a Chicago Democrat who chairs the Senate Executive Appointments Committee, says the audit will be considered when lawmakers begin deliberating on whether to confirm Walker to the board.

"The audit findings of prison operations during Roger Walker's tenure as head of DOC will be reviewed as we consider Walker's appointment to the Prisoner Review Board," Munoz said in a statement.

The ranking Republican on the Senate panel also said the audit is a red flag.

"We certainly want to take a look at that," said state Sen. Dave Luechtefeld, R-Okawville.

Walker, a former Macon County sheriff, said Thursday he was unaware the audit might become a flashpoint in his confirmation hearings.

"I haven't heard anything," Walker said.

Monken's fate, meanwhile, also remains in limbo. Lawmakers have not said whether they intend to take up his appointment in the final week of the fall veto session.

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