Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Is It Over Now That Payne Has Resigned?

Star editorial cartoonist Gary Varvel's harsh depiction of Payne's departure as DCS Director

Is it the end of the matter now that DCS Director James Payne has resigned amidst an Indianapolis Star investigative story that questioned his role in a child neglect case involving the children of his son? Judging by the comments state lawmakers made to reporters yesterday, that depends on whether you are a Republican or a Democrat. From the Star:
But the political fallout is not likely to end any time soon, with Republicans and Democrats continuing to fight over the need for an investigation and broader performance issues within DCS.
That was evident Monday afternoon as lawmakers from both parties staged dueling news conferences before a previously scheduled meeting of the Department of Child Services Interim Study Committee. The committee was looking into concerns about the DCS child abuse hotline, as well as the agency’s relationship with service providers, courts and other child advocates.
Moments before Payne’s resignation was announced, a group of House and Senate Democrats held a press conference in the Statehouse to ask Daniels to launch an investigation into issues raised by The Star's story.
They asked for an investigation by the Indiana inspector general or the Indiana attorney general. They also called for Payne step aside immediately . . .
“There are just so many allegations that are still there, still need to be resolved,” State Sen. Tim Lanane said.
State Sen. Vi Simpson, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, also called for a probe Monday afternoon, several hours after the resignation announcement.
“Ongoing problems in (the) agency should be addressed immediately,” she wrote on her Twitter account . . .
State Rep. Cindy Noe, R-Indianapolis, a co-chairwoman of the legislative study committee looking into issues at DCS, said Payne’s resignation should bring an end to questions about his conduct.
“I think it’s important to note at this time that we have a government that is prepared and that has standing entities whose charge is to handle just such situations,” she said. “We have the Commission on Ethics as well as the inspector general. In this instance, those entities will not be used because this issue has been resolved within the executive branch of government.”

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