Springfield Mayor Mike Houston says he has no idea how a controversial former aide to Secretary of State Jesse White came to be one of his appointees to the city’s homeless advisory commission.
Marlene Liss is under scrutiny for the high-paying job she landed after years of friendship with White, and has been linked to a federal investigation of Medicaid fraud. She was also appointed by Houston to that city commission in 2011.
Houston says he’s never met Liss, but says it would not be unusual for a non-profit organization to submit a name that he would in turn nominate for such an appointment. A spokesman for Houston says Liss never showed up for a single meeting of the commission, and her appointment to the unpaid position was not renewed in 2012. However, her name remains listed as a commission member on the city’s website.