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(c) The Director of the Veterans' Accountability Unit
shall ensure that the Unit maintains regular office hours and
establishes both a toll-free helpline and a dedicated
electronic mail address for the purpose of accepting
complaints, information, and recommendations. The Director
shall provide a reasonable means for receiving complaints
outside of office hours.
(d) The Veterans' Accountability Unit shall function
independently of the Department. The salary and benefits of
the Director of the Veterans' Accountability Unit and any
other staff of the Unit, as deemed necessary by the Director,
along with all other expenses of the Unit shall be paid from
appropriations to the Department.
(e) The Director and staff of the Veterans' Accountability
Unit shall have the authority to access the offices or
facilities of the Department and the Veterans' Homes and shall
have access to all information, documents, and personnel of
the Department as needed to perform the duties of the
Veterans' Accountability Unit. It is the duty of every
employee of the Department to cooperate with the Veterans'
Accountability Unit. The Department shall provide the staff of
the Veterans' Accountability Unit with physical space in each
Department office and in each Veterans' Home to conduct
confidential business as needed to perform the work of the
Veterans' Accountability Unit.
(f) The Veterans' Accountability Unit shall ensure all
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complaints, allegations, or incidents of possible misconduct,
misfeasance, malfeasance, or violations of rules, procedures,
or laws by any employee, service provider, or contractor of
the Department are reported to the Office of Executive
Inspector General for the Agencies of the Illinois Governor.
(g) The Office of Executive Inspector General for the
Agencies of the Illinois Governor shall assess the complaints,
allegations, and incidents and shall determine whether to (i)
investigate, (ii) refer to the appropriate agency, (iii) refer
to any appropriate law enforcement agency, (iv) request a
response from the Department to the complaint, allegations, or
incident, or (v) refer to the Veterans' Accountability Unit to
conduct further inquiry or review if necessary.
(h) The Director of the Veterans' Accountability Unit may
recommend changes to the Director of Veterans' Affairs
concerning Department policies or practices based upon
information learned or observations made by the Veterans'
Accountability Unit staff during the course of its duties. The
Director of the Veterans' Accountability Unit shall meet
regularly with the Office of Executive Inspector General for
the Agencies of the Illinois Governor to report this
information to allow the Office to determine whether further
investigation is necessary.
(i) The Veterans' Accountability Unit shall create an
annual report that includes a summary of the complaints
received and actions taken in response. This report shall not
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include any referrals to the Office of Executive Inspector
General for the Agencies of the Illinois Governor that result
in an investigation. The summaries shall not contain any
confidential or identifying information concerning the
subjects or complainants of the reports and investigations.
(j) Nothing in this Section shall limit investigations by
the Department of Veterans' Affairs that may otherwise be
required by law or that may be necessary in that Department's
capacity as the central administrative authority on matters
concerning services to veterans, their survivors, and