Gov. Pat Quinn stood by the state’s top prison official Monday after the Chicago Sun-Times reported that a former gang member was found unfit to work for the Department of Corrections two separate times — and then got a high-paying job anyway.
“After the Sun-Times brought this matter to light, the governor’s office directed DOC to review the individual’s employment status, at which point discrepancies were identified [in his job application]. The individual has since been terminated,” said Brooke Anderson, a spokeswoman for Quinn.
The episode hasn’t shaken the governor’s confidence in Salvador Godinez, the head of the Department of Corrections, Anderson said. Her comments followed the governor walking away from a news conference about the frigid weather when a reporter started to ask him about Xadrian R. McCraven, whose firing took effect Monday.
Godinez, records show, was made aware of a problem with McCraven’s background in 2011. But McCraven still managed to land a six-figure job with the agency in 2013.
McCraven had sought a job with the Department of Corrections in 2007, but officials rejected his application because of an undisclosed problem found during a background check, records show. Still, in 2011, Godinez’s office signed off on McCraven being “detailed” from his job with the state Department of Children and Family Services to an investigator’s post in the prison system’s intelligence unit.
Two months into that assignment, though, McCraven was ordered back to DCFS because of “suitability issues” found in a second background check, according to an email Godinez received on Oct. 14, 2011.
McCraven admitted in his 2011 job application he was a gang member in the late 1980s. Federal court records show he was arrested “at least” two dozen times in his youth.
In 2013, McCraven went to work for the Corrections Department again — this time after he was fired by DCFS for allegedly writing lewd emails and falsifying his DCFS job application. His transfer was the result of the state settling a union grievance McCraven filed when he lost his DCFS position.
A Corrections Department spokesman has said the department had no choice but to hire McCraven to his $111,432-a-year job as senior adviser to the chief of parole. The spokesman also said that Godinez doesn’t recall McCraven being detailed to the agency in 2011 — or being terminated from the detail. “The IDOC has 10,850 employees and many interagency details,” department spokesman Tom Shaer said.