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Tuesday, Dec 10, 2013

* Somebody must have one heckuva sponsor

A $110,000-a-year Illinois prison official with a lengthy criminal history returned to the state payroll despite “writing and responding to hundreds of lewd and inappropriate emails” on the taxpayers’ dime and “falsifying” his application for a previous state job, records show.

Xadrian R. McCraven’s “state email account revealed hundreds of non-work-related emails that included highly sexualized content; were demeaning towards women; were related to a personal romance or relationship; or were regarding miscellaneous personal business,” state inspectors wrote in explaining McCraven’s firing last year from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

McCraven, 44, of Chicago, sued DCFS to get his job back last year. But U.S. District Judge John W. Darrah rejected his claims in March, records show.

Still, Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration struck a settlement with McCraven and his union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

McCraven could have amended his lawsuit but instead withdrew the suit shortly after Darrah’s ruling. In June, he then dropped a union grievance and accepted a 10-day suspension, got six months of back pay and was transferred to the job he now holds as senior adviser to the chief of parole with the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Asked to explain why McCraven was allowed to stay on the state payroll, the Quinn administration cited the potential financial costs of losing a grievance case.

* More

In his August 2000 ruling, Keys wrote that the police department background investigation found McCraven was known “to be a drug dealer, gang member and supplier of guns to other gang members.”

In 1987, McCraven was convicted of disorderly conduct, and he pleaded guilty in 1989 to illegal possession of a handgun, according to Keys.

In 1994, McCraven began working as an officer for the Chicago Housing Authority Police Department. Then, in 1998, he was charged with domestic battery, accused of assaulting his former fiancee, and was found guilty of reckless conduct, the judge wrote.

McCraven was fired by the CHA in August 1999 for “violating department general orders forbidding unjustified physical attacks on or off duty” and bringing discredit on the department, Keys wrote. McCraven had argued his “discharge was reversed” and that he was to be reinstated by the department, which disbanded in October 1999.

In 2000, McCraven went to work for DCFS as a child-protection worker.

In 2003, his name appeared in a once-secret database of thousands of politically connected candidates for jobs, transfers or promotions that was kept by then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s administration, records show. […]

Fernando E. Grillo, that agency’s director at the time, was listed as McCraven’s political sponsor for an IDPR job, according to the Blagojevich database, which misspelled McCraven’s last name as “McGraven.”

Grillo says he doesn’t remember sponsoring McCraven for a job but says he’d met McCraven years before through his involvement in community groups, including a church group in Humboldt Park.

OK, so he had a Blagojevich sponsor, but DCFS first hired the guy under George Ryan.


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Downstate Illinois - Tuesday, Dec 10, 13 @ 11:12 am:

    This is why people don’t like unions. I’m predicting Bruce Rauner will have a field day with this in 3… 2… 1…

  2. - John Boch - Tuesday, Dec 10, 13 @ 11:16 am:

    A ten-day suspension plus back pay?

    What do you have to do to lose your state job in IL?


  3. - Boone's is Back - Tuesday, Dec 10, 13 @ 11:18 am:

    The guy’s name was “McCraven” and he works as a DCFS child protection worker. WOW, that thing writes itself.

  4. - Ahoy! - Tuesday, Dec 10, 13 @ 11:22 am:

    Why is AFSME defending this guy? The union should have a higher standard for it’s employees for the unions long term viability.

  5. - reformer - Tuesday, Dec 10, 13 @ 11:25 am:

    I’m looking forward to hearing who his clout is.

  6. - Aldyth - Tuesday, Dec 10, 13 @ 11:26 am:

    This is nothing less than disgraceful. We know that there are many, many good state employees. This looks like Illinois has no real standards other than influence.

  7. - langhorne - Tuesday, Dec 10, 13 @ 11:31 am:

    this stinks like bad cabbage. i hope the press keeps on it until there are some answers, and someone is held accountable. it doesnt exactly encourage respect for the average state worker.

  8. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Dec 10, 13 @ 11:33 am:

    @Ahoy, the union is legally obligated to represent every member and ensure due process is followed.

  9. - DuPage Rep - Tuesday, Dec 10, 13 @ 11:37 am:

    I find it really hard to believe that any arbitrator would sustain a grievance for a guy like this. There is some heavy duty clout at work her, or maybe this is Quinn’s way of trying to get back in the good graces of the Unions.

  10. - state worker - Tuesday, Dec 10, 13 @ 11:37 am:

    If he paid union dues the union is legally bound to file a grievance. But I’ll tell you this I know. Bottom line…CMS has to agree to settle any grievance and if it goes to arbitration losing party only pays out a average of $3,000. So Quinns argument of the cost is bull.

  11. - skeptical spectacle - Tuesday, Dec 10, 13 @ 11:39 am:

    It is very depressing to read stuff like this, but it needs to be publicized widely to try to keep from happening in future. This is very disappointing to read.

  12. - SO IL M - Tuesday, Dec 10, 13 @ 11:42 am:

    In his August 2000 ruling, Keys wrote that the police department background investigation found McCraven was known “to be a drug dealer, gang member and supplier of guns to other gang members.”

    As long as Illinoisans continue to ignore and excuse the role that Chicago Street Gangs play in Chicago Politics, this will repeat itself over and over. It is harmful in any Department. In IDOC it is dangerous.

  13. - Cassandra - Tuesday, Dec 10, 13 @ 11:43 am:

    I think AFSCME has to defend him as the collective bargaining agent, for, in this case, a manager. Yes, all or nearly all public service administrators are in the union now in Illinois state government, I believe. Another gift from Blago and the Democrats. Or was it Quinn and the Democrats?

    I wonder why DCFS (or was it CMS?) didn’t just go ahead with the firing and let the chips fall. The money excuse sounds a bit weak. Does DCFS have an e-mail policy everybody has to sign off on to work there? What is the state’s discipline history on similar cases involving problematic e-mails. Were most of the salacious e-mails incoming or outgoing. How salacious were they. All sorts of interesting issues we’ll probably never find out about.

    But still, the Quinn admin has some splaining to do. We shouldn’t let them get away with the money saving argument. If rules need to be changed at DCFS and CMS, let’s change them.

  14. - DuPage Rep - Tuesday, Dec 10, 13 @ 11:44 am:

    No Union is legally bound to file a grievance. They only owe a duty of fair representation. AFSCME has a horrible reputation for filing grievances for everything and rolling the dice at arbitration. They give public Unions a bad name.

  15. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Dec 10, 13 @ 11:44 am:

    DuPage Rep’s first sentence is correct, as is state worker. This has nothing to do with the union, and everything to do with clout.

  16. - Barney Fife - Tuesday, Dec 10, 13 @ 11:45 am:

    A former gang member administrating incarcerated gang members. Wow. Maybe all the last articles on corruption in IDOC had merit. But hey, the current Director was found guilty by the OEIG of ethics violations. So it all makes sense to me?

  17. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Dec 10, 13 @ 11:46 am:

    === Asked to explain why McCraven was allowed to stay on the state payroll, the Quinn administration cited the potential financial costs of losing a grievance case. ===

    Another demonstration of the inept Quinn administration. They want to allow an abusive employee to remain a cancer in an agency rather than spending a couple of bucks. Yet, they don’t mind spending a ton more to litigate a campaign gimmick to eliminate legislator salaries.

    The Blago/Quinn years continue to cast a pall over the State of Illinois.

  18. - BMAN - Tuesday, Dec 10, 13 @ 11:47 am:

    Don’t blame unions, blame the inspector generals. Have they gotten any thing to stick. If administration did their paper work right he’d be gone.
    BTW this guy sounds as legit as a legislator!

  19. - walkinfool - Tuesday, Dec 10, 13 @ 11:48 am:

    This is disgraceful, both for the state’s settling, and for AFSCME defending such behavior.

    Unions do not always have a legal obligation to defend every fired employee. They can agree that due process was appropriately followed in the release, and the correct outcome occurred. At least that was my experience dealing with other unions some years ago.

    And why would the state assume it would lose? Because they always do, regardless of the facts?

    If AFSCME operates differently in Illinois, then that is one of many strange things developed over time in our state.

  20. - Norseman - Tuesday, Dec 10, 13 @ 11:49 am:

    Oops, Anonymous 11:46 am was me. Cleaned out my cookies again.

  21. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Dec 10, 13 @ 11:51 am:

    ===If administration did their paper work right he’d be gone.===

    I almost always blame bad management and this case may be no different. However, AFSCME maybe shoulda stepped aside here.

  22. - Cassandra - Tuesday, Dec 10, 13 @ 11:53 am:

    But if you are fired, as I believe this man was, don’t your dues include representation by the collective bargaining agent. I would think this would be part of what you get for your dues.

    Plus, I’m thinking we don’t have all the facts.
    His “criminal” history is irrelevant because he was hired under Rutan in the first place, which included a background check. I suspect the record was primarily arrests not convictions, and the convictions didn’t prevent the Ryan admin hiring him. Wanna change that? Change the law. As to the e-mails, I wonder what the rules are, was he warned and so forth. Lots of interesting issues in this little peek into the workings of the Illinois state bureaucracy–the one we pay for, but that’s another topic.

  23. - DuPage Rep - Tuesday, Dec 10, 13 @ 11:56 am:

    If your job is in a bargaining unit and you are fired, the Union only owes you what’s called a “duty of representation”. That means they have to hear you out, investigate your grievance fairly, and make a determination whether to proceed or not. That is it.

  24. - dupage dan - Tuesday, Dec 10, 13 @ 12:01 pm:

    A person who committed domestic battery becomes a child protection worker @ DCFS. This isn’t just weird - it is an abomination.

  25. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Dec 10, 13 @ 12:03 pm:

    It’s good to have a sponsor.

  26. - anon - Tuesday, Dec 10, 13 @ 12:08 pm:

    Wake up folks! This is all about the clout, not collective bargaining as has already been pointed out by many. It’s no surprise that Quinn would try to scapegoat the union. The question is why would anyone believe it.

  27. - Former Merit Comp Slave - Tuesday, Dec 10, 13 @ 12:11 pm:

    This type of stuff was one of the main reasons I retired the second I could. If you bring illegal activity to light you are the lucky recipient of retaliation in many cases. It all depends on who you know and who you………it’s gotten alarmingly worse in the last 10 years

  28. - Just wondering - Tuesday, Dec 10, 13 @ 12:35 pm:

    Is the guy working in state government now? if so, is the story about uncovering past history to fire him?

  29. - Buster - Tuesday, Dec 10, 13 @ 12:37 pm:

    His sponsor was probably indebted to him for all the good work he did in scaring voters and extorting campaign contributions.

  30. - MrJM - Tuesday, Dec 10, 13 @ 12:39 pm:

    The guy’s name was “McCraven” and he works as a DCFS child protection worker. WOW, that thing writes itself.

    When I first read about this I thought, “The bad guy’s name is ‘Xadrian McCraven‘? Who’s the hack who wrote this script?”

    – MrJM

  31. - carbaby - Tuesday, Dec 10, 13 @ 12:44 pm:

    His background check for DCFS should have excluded him for employment within the department. There is a higher threshold- and must be in line with Rule and Procedure. However there are certain convictions that can be waived depending on the how much time has passed. Since he had law enforcement background, they would’ve wanted him. I can tell you personally that the Inspector General(DCFS) investigations are very thorough. At the end of the day, they make recommendations for corrective action, including termination. It becomes the Director’s decision and going through the grievance process that results in the final action. I’ve known people to get fired from DCFS or other state offices that there was much less than this- so the cost is irrelevant here. This reeks of political connections.

  32. - bulldog - Tuesday, Dec 10, 13 @ 12:47 pm:

    This is only the tip of the ice burg the charges go on and on arson, weapons ,selling drugs etc. on and on. It all begins with the saints of humble park(LKs) and Luis Arroyo. Check this out 24 months ago Godinez tried to hire this guy into corrections intel out of Springfield we told Quinn’s people about it and it sort of went away now he back with his old buddy Godinez making 110,000 a year and still doing unspeakable things sexual harassment and god only knows what else Godinez has got to go right along with Quinn

  33. - Union Man - Tuesday, Dec 10, 13 @ 12:49 pm:

    Union or no union, this guys got to go!! Wait until this hits the media. Quinn will lose the women’s vote!!

  34. - Barney Fife - Tuesday, Dec 10, 13 @ 12:56 pm:

    When will the general public and taxpayers demand a major house cleaning in this State Agency? IDOC-Illinois Department of Corruption. I think this is the last straw.

  35. - Sir Reel - Tuesday, Dec 10, 13 @ 1:01 pm:

    This is such a train wreck. Why was this loser paid $110K/year? Couldn’t they have at least found him a lower paying job? I’d love to see his “advice.”

  36. - Cassandra - Tuesday, Dec 10, 13 @ 1:07 pm:

    In this particular case, I’m wondering if DOC had a choice. The guy got his job back, with back pay no less, and DCFS and the Quinn admin were desperate to get him out of DCFS. So they put him at DOC as part of the deal Did the DOC executive have the power to refuse him. Or did CMS and the Quinn admin just send him over as a fait accompli. So many questions….Bruce Rauner is looking better…

  37. - ILexpat - Tuesday, Dec 10, 13 @ 1:12 pm:


    This is the type of stuff that makes it hard for a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat like me to defend public sector employee unions. I love the folks I interact with in AFSME and the teachers’ unions. They are good people. I just don’t understand, then, why they do not see how these types of stories kill them their public perception. It’s just a blind spot.

  38. - Liberty First - Tuesday, Dec 10, 13 @ 1:26 pm:

    Which employees should unions represent? Should unions conduct their own investigation? It is up to the state to investigate employees not unions…

  39. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Dec 10, 13 @ 1:45 pm:

    Why did I move back to this crazy state after 20 years away? Time away and I forgot how incredibly corrupt and fundamentally flawed it is. I may have roots going back back 154 years in the Chicago area, with family and friends still here, but it’s time to recognize that it’s broken, our future is bleak, and leave for good. These stories break all the time, nothing changes. Granted Chicago was always a break-the-rules place but the criminality and waste catches up to a point from which there isn’t a recovery.

  40. - Transplant - Tuesday, Dec 10, 13 @ 2:25 pm:

    I’d like to know what qualifications set this guy apart from the rest of the pack? Were they the same type of qualifications that saw a theater major and video store manager hired as an assistant warden?

  41. - Barney Fife - Tuesday, Dec 10, 13 @ 2:31 pm:

    Bottom line. Who circumvented idoc rules and policies? There had to be a background investigation and review. The criminal history and gang affiliations would have shown up creating red flags. The Idoc Chief of Staff and Director had to have signed this Review which shows they are also accountable. This needs to be a Federal Investigation for corruption.

  42. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Dec 10, 13 @ 2:32 pm:

    ==It is up to the state to investigate employees not unions…==

    And the union should have some common sense to not defend people like this. The union does not have to vigorously defend anybody. I know of one case where an employee was caught sexually harassing a member of the public (as well as some other stuff). The person was filed. A grievance was filed but beyond that the union didn’t offer that much support to the guy and the case was eventually dropped and the firing stood. The union does not have to go all out defending people like this guy. And to suggest that the union should is ludicrous. People lose faith in unions when they defend crap like this.

  43. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Dec 10, 13 @ 2:33 pm:

    That should say the person was FIRED above.

  44. - Cassandra - Tuesday, Dec 10, 13 @ 2:44 pm:

    As I said above, we lack the facts here and maybe the case against the employee was weaker than it appears, at least in the wacky world of employment law, which really is wacky. Maybe AFSCME took the stand that he should be disciplined and not fired, based on the facts. Maybe other state employees have misused state e-mail (there is amazing naivete out there about the internet) and weren’t fired. Maybe Jim Thompson shouldn’t have let state employees unionize lo those many decades ago. It’s too late now. Or maybe it isn’t. Bruce…?

  45. - Leave a Light on George - Tuesday, Dec 10, 13 @ 4:45 pm:

    Fumigation at its best.

  46. - Oh, Come On - Tuesday, Dec 10, 13 @ 5:53 pm:

    Catching up on some cable programs, I finally saw Season One of “Boss” with Kelsey Grammer. I enjoyed it, but wanted to tell myself that it was all fiction until I read this article. SHEESH!

  47. - Sweet Dreams - Tuesday, Dec 10, 13 @ 9:40 pm:

    Bruce Rauner you are the guy to break the stranglehold the unions have on Illinois. ISEA and Afscme need to go . huge salaries are the real drain on the state budget.

  48. - C. Montgomery Burns - Tuesday, Dec 10, 13 @ 10:49 pm:

    AFSKME and the other unions are sealing their own fate with this gem. Unfortunately this example is not an isolated incident. Wake up unions and start doing what is righteous or you will be booted out of the last sector of our economy where you still are welcome.

  49. - Lawrence Chief - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 6:07 am:

    This is merely a reflection of the fabulous incompetence of the Director of IDOC. These prisons are full of this corruption. When someone starts to scream foul he/she gets slapped with an investigation packet 2 inches thick. They basically scare and bully people to keep quiet. Good job Illinois.

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