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Dillard wants Godinez sacked

Thursday, Jan 9, 2014

* From a press release…

Republican candidate for Governor Kirk Dillard [yesterday] called on Governor Pat Quinn to fire Illinois Department of Corrections Director Salvador Godinez, after Corrections officials permitted a former gang member with a lengthy criminal record to be hired by the Department of Corrections. Xadrian McCraven was fired only after a Sun-Times investigation became public.

“It’s outrageous that former gang members are now running the prisons,” Dillard said. “No matter if you’re a Democrat or Republican, from Chicago or Cairo, this is just plain wrong and dangerous.”

Dillard called on the Governor’s Inspector General to investigate the circumstances under which McCraven was hired and whether any political influence was exerted to secure his employment. “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 noted that McCraven’s 24 arrests and documented gang connections make it unlikely IDOC followed its own internal procedures in conducting a complete criminal background check.

Dillard called for Auditor General Bill Holland to determine whether IDOC hiring procedures were followed. “I’m filing a resolution to investigate whether someone bypassed hiring safeguards, or if hiring procedures need to be radically overhauled to prevent this from happening again,” Dillard said.

* Background and react from the Sun-Times

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. […]

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. […]

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.”

Thoughts?

- Posted by Rich Miller        


30 Comments
  1. - 100 Miles West - Thursday, Jan 9, 14 @ 10:07 am:

    who is McCraven’s sponsor?


  2. - Sir Reel - Thursday, Jan 9, 14 @ 10:15 am:

    Jeez … all it will take is for the Sun Times to investigate every Blago hire to fumigate State government of these hacks. Then Quinn will “direct Department whatever to review the individuals’ employment status.” Yeah, that’ll happen.


  3. - Lobo Y Olla - Thursday, Jan 9, 14 @ 10:29 am:

    “has made $1,700 in campaign contributions…”

    So what? I’ve donated over $2,000 in my life… am I a government hack because of it? I’ve always hated the insinuation that if government workers donate, “that must be how they got their job.” I’m quite sure the politicos I’ve donated to, wouldn’t take my call if I phoned. $2,000 is peanuts. I give because I believe in the candidate.


  4. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jan 9, 14 @ 10:31 am:

    Dillard has to do whatever he can to get some free publicity. This issue on the surface is pretty outrageous, so some spaghetti might stick to the wall.

    Still, in concept, it’s not out of the question that you would hire a former — read former — gang member to work for IDOC.

    If they’ve done their time, cut their ties and are on the straight and narrow, I imagine they could bring some valuable insight to the table.

    Some people are supposed to get rehabilitated by prison, right? Not every IDOC job has to go to some county chairman’s cousin.


  5. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jan 9, 14 @ 10:31 am:

    Something about this doesn’t make sense. The information about McCraven was all known to Godinez, but he didn’t do anything. When the Governor found out, he had McCraven fired. So, if based on the same information, Godinez’s decision is to hire/retain McCraven and the Governor’s choice is to fire him, why does the Governor continue to have confidence in Godinez? More interesting than 100 Miles West’s question might be — who is Godinez’s sponsor?


  6. - walker - Thursday, Jan 9, 14 @ 10:42 am:

    ===fumigate the State government of these hacks==

    Could be, but not so fast:

    The man is 44 years old, with convictions and gang connections back in the 80’s and 90’s. Depending on who he is now, I’m not so sure he’s not the perfect hire to advise the parole board on whom to trust and take a risk on.

    Politicians can make a mess of anything.

    But so can bureaucratic rule-followers.


  7. - Chavez-respecting Obamist - Thursday, Jan 9, 14 @ 10:46 am:

    I don’t have a problem with former gang members advising the head of parole. ‘Former’ being the most important part of that phrase.


  8. - Thomas - Thursday, Jan 9, 14 @ 10:47 am:

    1000 Miles West asks the key question — who brought McCraven to the dance? Godinez is a corrections lifer who has a reputation for following orders and not making waves. I suppose anythings possible, but I have a hard time believing that McCraven is Godinez’s guy.

    And though Quinn might have a reputation as a reformer, he has some old school views when in comes to patronage dating back to his days in the Walker administration. All signs point to someone in the Guv’s office (or General Assembly?) dumping this guy on DOC. Kinda crappy of Dillard to pin this on Godinez…but all is fair in love, war and politics.


  9. - Cassandra - Thursday, Jan 9, 14 @ 10:52 am:

    Wasn’t McCraven’s first state job at DCFS, and wasn’t he hired pre-Blago. No one seems to have questioned his hiring at DCFS, with the same history. Wouldn’t you think DCFS would have more rigorous hiring standards?

    This whole matter is confusing, with so many agencies involved-DCFS (where he was hired twice, I believe), Professional Regulation, DOC, CMS, and, presumably the guv’s office (which seems to have been involved in the decision not to pursue his DCFS firing). Why is Godinez the prime villain? Seems like if there were any, there were a lot of them.

    Also seems like an EOIG investigation would be a good idea, to provide a little more clarity.


  10. - corpman - Thursday, Jan 9, 14 @ 10:54 am:

    “Dillard wants Godinez sacked,” working title for Episode 1 of HBO’s new hit drama “Prison Overlord”

    C’mon, anyone else see the potential here?!

    :P


  11. - langhorne - Thursday, Jan 9, 14 @ 11:08 am:

    LYO–were you a gang member, arrested a couple dozen times? the contribution is minor, by itself.


  12. - Mason born - Thursday, Jan 9, 14 @ 11:09 am:

    Seems the key here is arrests not convictions. He has three convictions according to the Sun times. Was illegal handgun possesion a felony in 1989?? No felony then i am having a hard time seeing where the fire is.


  13. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Jan 9, 14 @ 11:10 am:

    Yes, the $112,000 question is “who’s the Chinaman?”

    Beyond that, though, the way this guy was moved around the past couple years is just 50 shades of hinky and some questions need to be asked. For example, there was an “Interagency Cooperation Agreement” between DCFS and DOC for FY 12 that basically ratified the dude working at DOC while being on DCFS’ payroll. The justification was lacking, at best. Back in the day, we had another term for that and it wasn’t “Interagency Cooperation.”


  14. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jan 9, 14 @ 11:19 am:

    I worked with McCraven at Financial and Professional Regulation. He was Chief of Staff and seemed close to Secretary F. Grillo. He also seemed like a decent guy and was regularly in the office.


  15. - Lobo Y Olla - Thursday, Jan 9, 14 @ 11:24 am:

    “LYO–were you a gang member, arrested a couple dozen times? the contribution is minor, by itself.”

    Then why include the stat? It’s a sneaky way to insinuate that not only is he a gangmember (former) and a felon, he’s a DONOR!


  16. - E Man - Thursday, Jan 9, 14 @ 11:43 am:

    The smart point here is: there’s more qualified people with less of a checkered past for that position. I’m not going to speak to the character of the man he is today. But it is what it is. Goverment employees should maybe have a less crime ridden past, especially someone in that high of a position. Just sayin.


  17. - Anon - Thursday, Jan 9, 14 @ 11:49 am:

    In some prior press on this matter, there was references to hundreds or thousands of state employees being “detailed” from 1 agency to another. Does anyone understand this practice and what legitimate reasons exist for temporarily (or not) reassigning employees from 1 agency to another? Is this a political maneuever or are there legitimate reasons for it?


  18. - Tired - Thursday, Jan 9, 14 @ 11:56 am:

    Whats the big deal Godinez lets the gangs run rampant anyway


  19. - Conservative Republican - Thursday, Jan 9, 14 @ 11:56 am:

    == He was Chief of Staff and seemed close to Secretary F. Grillo. He also seemed like a decent guy and was regularly in the office. ==

    And was “regularly in the office”! LOL. Only in Illinois could regular work attendance be considered a praiseworthy bonus, as opposed to an implicit requirement of the job.


  20. - 100 Miles West - Thursday, Jan 9, 14 @ 12:01 pm:

    Anon - both reasons are used for detailing staff to other agencies. Blago abused this practice to make it look like he had a smaller staff in the governor’s office. There are some situations where a person is needed for a job and no authority to hire/fund the position exists in the agency with the need. It should not be used often.


  21. - Barney Fife - Thursday, Jan 9, 14 @ 12:08 pm:

    Why has the Executive Appointment Committee Chairman avoided two sessions of calling for a Godinez vote? Will he even make it out of committee for a Senate confirmation? Not!!


  22. - bill ryan - Thursday, Jan 9, 14 @ 12:46 pm:

    the one who deserves to be sacked is Dillard. Anything for a headline. Godinez is doing a very good job running DOC probably the most difficult job in state government today.


  23. - Cassandra - Thursday, Jan 9, 14 @ 12:55 pm:

    CR-I think what Anon may have been trying to say was that he wasn’t a ghost employee. An ancient job category which I presume still exists in Illinois state government.


  24. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jan 9, 14 @ 1:51 pm:

    Yes, Cassandra. For the first time I agree with you. He was not a ghost employee. He was in the office and involved in day to day operations as Chief of Staff.


  25. - Conservative Republican - Thursday, Jan 9, 14 @ 2:24 pm:

    Cassandra/Anon: I got that. Do you both realize that it is illegal to be a “ghost employee”? Anon’s description suggested that McCraven should be given credit for simply showing up to do his job. “Regular attendance” shouldn’t have to be mentioned but rather presumed.


  26. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jan 9, 14 @ 3:34 pm:

    I was trying to say that he did a good job and is not a total bum despite earlier problems in his life.


  27. - W.S. Wolcott - Thursday, Jan 9, 14 @ 3:42 pm:

    I think this issue is likely just another straw on Godinez’s back. True, the job is hard. True, you can’t (shouldn’t) lay this (McCraven) solely at his feet. However, IDOC is hardly seen as a model of efficient operations. The employees of IDOC generally do not support Godinez. There is clearly a problem in the senate, with his not being confirmed. I think the real story here is why he’s not being called for a confirmation vote 10 months after being reappointed by Quinn. Godinez makes the news often, ethics violation, inmates sleeping in gyms/bullpens, crowded vs. overcrowded semantic arguments, Andrew Ott, Ty Bates, etc., but never is it mentioned/covered by the media that he has not been confirmed by the senate. Why? That is the real question, and likely the best way for Dillard to frame this issue…


  28. - friend of a friend - Thursday, Jan 9, 14 @ 4:52 pm:

    Okay let me see if I have this right… McCraven was arrested “at least 24 times” then
    1. Got a B.A. from Northeastern IL. University
    2. Worked at DCFS in 1993 to 94, 2000-04, 2007-12.
    3. Graduated from the Chicago Police Academy.
    4. worked for the CHA Police for 5 years.
    5. Worked as Exec.Asst./ to the Director at IDPR
    6. Worked at IDOC in 2013.
    Nah.. that’s not impressive at all. Can’t be huh?


  29. - stan - Thursday, Jan 9, 14 @ 7:08 pm:

    This is crazy this violates the policies of DOC. How much more does this man need to do? There has been people not hired because they have a DUI on there criminal background. Something needs to be done with this Director. It has been down hill since he took over, just ask staff at the Prisons. I just retired but I hate to see the good employees in DOC have to deal with the things Godinez is doing.


  30. - idoc4u2 - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 6:53 pm:

    http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2000/March/155cr.htm Under the watchful eye of Warden SA Godinez, Jena Juvenile Justice Center, LA. Feds take control of the facility he was running.


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