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Reassigned state child care official retires

SPRINGFIELD — The official overseeing the state’s child care program who was reassigned from her post by the Rauner administration has retired.

Linda Saterfield, a longtime associate director of the Office of Early Childhood, on Tuesday confirmed her departure.

Her retirement comes after she was reassigned after her testimony to lawmakers that Gov. Bruce Rauner’s cuts to child care assistance would be “devastating” for families who rely on it.

“All I can say is that being called to my director’s office to learn of the reassignment, that was never mentioned,” Saterfield told the Chicago Sun-Times, adding: “The department wanted to take child care in another direction.”

The Rauner administration denied last week the move was due to Saterfield’s comments.

Veronica Vera, a spokeswoman for the Department of Human Services, said last week the move was ordered by DHS Secretary James Dimas due to “internal personnel reasons.”

Saterfield was offered the post of associate director for the office of Adult Services & Basic Support, Vera said. That office helps with services for vulnerable adults.

Her salary would have remained at $101,000 a year and would have been considered a lateral move, Vera said. Saterfield informed the department about her intention to retire Friday, Vera said.

But Saterfield, 60, said she thought about the new post and decided “it was just best for me to retire.”

She said had worked for the state for more than 37 years.

“I don’t blame the administration,” Saterfield said. “They have a right to pick whoever they want to lead programs.”

“It’s the administration’s right to choose their leadership, and apparently I was not the person. It was a generous  offer to reassign me.”