Ending weeks of speculation, Arthur Bishop today submitted a letter of resignation as director of the state’s child welfare agency.
Gov. Patrick Quinn appointed Bishop last month to lead the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.
But, within weeks of the appointment, Bishop’s administration was dogged by controversy over revelations that he pleaded guilty in 1995 to taking more than $9,000 from patients at the Bobby E. Wright Comprehensive Community Mental Health Center. Bishop also has been involved in a paternity case since 2003, according to court records.
In a letter to Quinn, Bishop, 61, alleged the governor’s political rivals were behind the controversy.
“I am aware that we are in the midst of a contested election, and that my documented accomplishments, dedication, and almost 20 years of exemplary work are in this environment, simply irrelevant,” he wrote in a letter to Quinn, obtained by the Chicago Tribune.
“While your political rivals may be willing to attack me in an effort to obtain some modicum of political advantage, I cannot agree to be used as a distraction to the real issues that face the State and the children that remain in State custody.”
His resignation is effective Friday.
Bishop, an ordained minister with more than 35 years in human services, began his career at DCFS in 1995 as a caseworker and rose to deputy director. He left the agency in late 2010 when Quinn chose him to oversee the state’s juvenile justice department.
Bishop’s 2010 appointment also was controversial because he lacked a corrections or juvenile justice background, but Quinn then defended his pick, arguing the department was moving in a new direction that focused more on rehabilitation. Facing the most recent criticism, Quinn again defended his pick.
Bishop said the governor did not seek his resignation. He had originally faced a felony in the 1995 theft case but, after two years of court proceedings, Bishop accepted a plea deal in which the charge was reduced to a misdemeanor, court records showed.
Source: Chicago Tribune