Byline: Don Thompson Daily Herald State Government Writer
SPRINGFIELD - Gov. Jim Edgar on Wednesday signed into law what he termed "the most massive state government reorganization since the early part of this century."
Over the next year, all or parts of six human services agencies will merge into the largest department in state government, with 20,000 employees and a $4 billion budget.
The law won't result in significant savings to taxpayers in either money or bureaucrats, and in fact could cost tens of millions of dollars simply to consolidate all the disparate agencies' computer systems.
Instead, the goal of all the bureaucratic shuffling is to help people like 24-year-old Deana Painter of Carpentersville, who ran into a bureaucratic morass last year when she went looking for someone to watch after her 3 1/2-year-old daughter so she could get her associate's degree at Elgin Community College.
The new Department of Human Services will give users "streamlined, one-stop shopping" service, Edgar promised.
"It will provide the best service possible by addressing the whole needs of families or individuals rather than the fragmented service they sometimes now receive," he added.
"If that's what it's supposed to do, more power to them," said a skeptical Painter. "That's exactly what I got last year - nothing but runaround, and all I needed was a little help."
Painter applied for day care assistance while she went to school, then took a part-time job that she was incorrectly told made her ineligible for child care assistance. At one point, she wound up paying $110 of her $130 weekly earnings for child care.
"It wasn't worth working, because most of the money was going …