New DHS director announces during visit that Murray Center will not close

CENTRALIA — Illinois’ new Director of Human Services James Dimas paid a visit Wednesday to the Warren G. Murray Developmental Center, delivering a welcome message that not only will the Centralia facility not be closing, but that there is no longer a closure list.

DHS Director James Dimas announces Murray Center will not close (Source: MPA Facebook page)
DHS Director James Dimas announces Murray Center will not close
(Source: MPA Facebook page)

Murray Parents Association President Rita Winkeler said Dimas informed everyone he met with Wednesday that all SODCs in Illinois, such as Murray, are on the 2016 budget.

Winkeler said parents were treated with dignity and respect, listened to and encouraged to share their ideas. She called it a new day in Illinois, saying the hard fought 3 1/2 year battle against former governor Pat Quinn’s push to close the Centralia center paid off. She thanked the MPA, Murray staff, and community for fighting to keep the Murray Center open.

While Quinn’s efforts to shutter the Murray Center failed, he successfully closed a similar SODC in Jacksonville. His attack on Murray, however, was met with state and federal lawsuits brought against the state and a temporary injunction that halted the transfer of Murray residents while the cases moved through the respective courts.