Quinn appoints new director of Illinois child welfare system

April 29, 2014

(Courtesy DCFS)
Bobbie Gregg is the new director of the Illinois Department

Gov. Pat Quinn has chosen a former law school classmate who once worked at Chicago City Hall as the next director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

Bobbie M. Gregg, 58, has been interim director of the state child welfare agency since February.

On Tuesday, Quinn named Gregg acting DCFS director, pending Senate confirmation of her appointment.

Quinn initially tapped Gregg to head DCFS following the resignation of the governor’s previous pick for the post after only a month on the job. Arthur Bishop resigned following Chicago Sun-Times and WBEZ reports that he had a theft conviction and paternity case in his past.

The top DCFS post, which pays $150,228 a year, has been a revolving door in recent months. In November. Richard Calica, who’d been appointed following a 2011 contracting scandal, resigned as he battled cancer. He died in December. Denise Gonzales, who’d been Calica’s chief of staff, was interim director before Bishop’s appointment in January.

Gregg spent four years as a lawyer for Mayor Richard M. Daley's administration in the 1990s and, before that, two years as a federal prosecutor in Chicago. She worked for corporate giants JPMorgan Chase and Aon before returning to school in 2009 and getting her master’s degree in social work from Loyola University.

“After working as a federal prosecutor and a long career in the private sector, she felt a strong desire to use her legal expertise and administrative experience to serve children and families,” DCFS spokeswoman Karen Hawkins said.

Quinn attended Northwestern University’s law school with Gregg, graduating with her in 1980.

“They graduated in the same class at Northwestern but did not know each other well,” said Katie Hickey, a Quinn spokeswoman.

Quinn called Gregg a “problem-solver who brings a fresh perspective to DCFS.”

She was chosen after a national search.

“Numerous candidates submitted their resumes,” Hickey said. “Five candidates were interviewed and vetted, several of which were from out-of-state.”

Gregg was deputy chief of DCFS’ Bureau of Operations before being named interim director in February. She had worked for the agency for about a year. She previously was an assistant director of the DuPage County Health Department.

Chris Fusco is a Sun-Times staff reporter. Tony Arnold is a reporter for WBEZ. Follow him @tonyjarnold.