GOP gov candidate Kirk Dillard to Quinn: Fire corrections chief
BY FRANK MAIN AND CHRIS FUSCO Staff Reporters January 8, 2014 6:50PM
- Quinn backs prisons chief as ex-gang member loses $111,432-a-year corrections job
- Found unfit to work twice, ex-gang member got six-figure state job anyway
- Sources: State moves to fire prison official with criminal past
- State prison official fired from DCFS for ‘lewd’ and ‘highly sexualized’ emails
- Two dozen arrests not a problem for Illinois prison official
- IDOC hired ex-gang member despite review that found him “not eligible”
Updated: February 10, 2014 11:51AM
Republican gubernatorial candidate Kirk Dillard on Wednesday called on Gov. Pat Quinn to fire the director of the Illinois Department of Corrections, citing a Chicago Sun-Times investigation into the prison system’s hiring of a former gang member.
Dillard, a state senator from Hinsdale, said Quinn should fire IDOC chief Salvador Godinez over the hiring of Xadrian R. McCraven last year. The Sun-Times reported that McCraven, 44, was found unfit to work for IDOC on two separate occasions, yet he got a six-figure job with the department anyway.
“It’s outrageous that former gang members are now running the prisons,” Dillard said in a statement. “No matter if you’re a Democrat or Republican, from Chicago or Cairo, this is just plain wrong and dangerous.”
Aides to Quinn said the governor continues to stand by Godinez. They also disputed Dillard’s statement about McCraven’s duties when he was senior adviser to the chief of parole — the $111,432-a-year job from which McCraven was fired Monday.
“Mr. McCraven never had any management or security duties and certainly was not involved in ‘running the prisons’ at any level,” said Tom Shaer, a corrections department spokesman.
Dillard said he wants to know if political influence was exerted to secure McCraven’s employment with IDOC. He wants state Executive Inspector General Ricardo Meza to investigate what happened and also plans to ask his fellow legislators to approve a resolution empowering Auditor General Bill Holland to determine if proper hiring procedures were followed.
McCraven, whose criminal history includes dozens of arrests in his youth, has made $1,700 in campaign contributions to elected officials including former Gov. Rod Blagojevich and other Democrats. In 2003, he was among thousands of politically connected people listed in a then-secret database of candidates for jobs, transfers or promotions in Blagojevich’s administration.
The same year, the mother of one of his children obtained an order of protection against him.
“The governor needs to come clean and tell people who Mr. McCraven’s clout is. Who intervened with the Blagojevich and Quinn administrations to get this guy a state job?” Dillard said.
Brooke Anderson, Quinn’s communications chief, said that McCraven “was hired under Rod Blagojevich and inherited by the Quinn administration.”
After the Sun-Times reported on McCraven’s past, Quinn “directed the Department of Corrections to review the individual’s employment status, at which point discrepancies in his previous application were identified. He was immediately terminated from employment,” Anderson said. “The Governor supports Director Godinez, who is managing one of the toughest jobs in the country.”
McCraven sought a job with corrections in 2007, but his application was rejected because of an undisclosed problem in a background check. Still, in 2011, Godinez’s office signed off on McCraven being detailed from his job in the Department of Children and Family Services to an investigator’s post in the prison system’s intelligence unit.
Two months into the IDOC assignment, though, he was ordered back to DCFS because of “suitability issues” found in another background check, according to an email Godinez received on Oct. 14, 2011.
Shaer has said Godinez doesn’t recall McCraven being detailed to the agency in 2011 — or his being removed from that detail given the 10,000-plus employees Godinez oversees.
McCraven, who declined to comment, was fired by DCFS in 2012 for allegedly writing lewd emails on state time and falsifying a DCFS job application. But in 2013, he was transferred to IDOC after the state settled a union grievance he filed when he lost the DCFS job.