* 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.”