CHICAGO – July 16, 2009. Governor Pat Quinn signed an Executive Order forming the Cemetery Oversight Task Force, which will examine the management of for-profit cemeteries with the intent of bolstering industry regulations and proposing needed consumer protection laws.
“The Burr Oak Cemetery scandal is an outrage. I believe in providing a proper and respectful burial,” said Governor Quinn. “This task force will ensure that our loved ones are always treated with reverence and dignity.”
In addition to forming the task force, Governor Quinn is directing Brent Adams, Acting Secretary of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR), which regulates funeral directors, to order state licensees to produce books and records reflecting business transactions or communications with Burr Oak over the past five years.
Attorney and former prosecutor Patricia Brown Holmes, a partner with law firm Schiff Hardin LLP, will act as chairperson of the nine-person Cemetery Oversight Task Force. Holmes served as an associate judge at the Circuit Court of Cook County, a Chief Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Chicago, an assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and as an Assistant State’s Attorney for Cook County.
Other Illinois citizens serving on the task force are: Dr. Damon Arnold, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health; Brent Adams, IDFPR; Dr. Byron Brazier, Pastor of Apostolic Church of God; Lester Coney, Executive Vice-president of Mesirow Financial; William McNary, Co-executive Director of Citizen Action; Dalitso Sulamoyo, President and CEO of Illinois Association of Community Action Agencies; Michael Kotzin, Executive Vice President of the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago; and Andrea Zopp, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Exelon Corporation. [Click here for a Fact sheet on Task Force members (PDF)]
Governor Quinn’s Executive Order calls for the task force to conduct a comprehensive review of “the circumstances surrounding the recent tragic events at Burr Oak Cemetery” and to “provide detailed recommendations on what policies, laws, rules and regulations should be implemented.”
The task force will also explore the need to overhaul regulations that govern “cemeteries, funeral directors and embalmers.” The task force will submit its report to Governor Quinn by September 15.
“We must have sound and comprehensive rules and regulations so atrocities like Burr Oak never happen again,” said Governor Quinn.