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IDOC Responds to Legislators' Statements About Gang Member in Its Ranks

"At no time in this job did he have access to classified, confidential, anti-gang enforcement or other such information," says Tom Shaer of the IDOC.

By Karen Chadra, Elmhurst Patch editor

Statements made during a press conference held by state Rep. Dennis Reboletti (R-Elmhurst) and his colleagues in the Illinois House last week has prompted a response from the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Following an investigation by the Chicago Sun-Times on the hiring of former gang member Xandrian McCraven to the Illinois Department of Corrections, Reboletti and Reps. John Anthnoy (R-Morris) and Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) joined in strong opposition to the practice of hiring former gang members for certain state jobs. They are writing legislation that would bar known gang members from employment in state law enforcement agencies and agencies that supervise children. 

At their press conference last week, the legislators referred to a "breakdown in the system" of hiring at the IDOC, and said they were "concerned about the threat to public safety" imposed by a former gang member working inside IDOC.

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Read the full story here: Former Gang Member Hired at Dept. of Corrections?…

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IDOC Director of Communications Tom Shaer responded to the legislators' statements, saying McCraven was fired more than a week ago, prior to the press conference, and that he was not a high-level employee with access to sensitive information. 

While Shaer did not dispute McCraven's six-figure salary, he said his employment and salary were "forced on the State of Illinois" because of the settlement of a union grievance. He said McCraven was hired under former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who is serving a 14-year prison sentence for corruption.

Following, in its entirety, is the statement issued by Shaer on behalf of the IDOC Monday, Jan. 13:

"Mr. McCraven was fired over a week ago. At no time in this job did he have access to classified, confidential, anti-gang enforcement or other such information. Sensitive information has never and will never be made available to anyone in the position he had. Any statement that he had such access is completely incorrect, and IDOC made that clear long before the Representatives’ press conference.

"His position was not high-level and did not involve management, security or authority. His job involved only reviews and reports of routine daily employee responsibilities, none of which were sensitive or security-related. His salary and continued employment were forced on the State of Illinois, as required by the settlement of a union grievance.

"Any statement that this job was high-level or involved management, security, authority or police officer duties is also completely incorrect. This was also made clear by IDOC long before the Representatives’ press conference.

"After this individual’s background came to our attention, Governor 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. IDOC does not tolerate unethical behavior.

"This employee was hired by the state under Rod Blagojevich and inherited by the Quinn Administration. His arrival at IDOC followed the union grievance and settlement. He was not a “known gang member” in the years preceding his arrival at IDOC, including during the grievance process and settlement that required he be employed by the state at the salary he had."


Angela Kane January 13, 2014 at 10:57 PM
Pat Quinn: "It's not my fault. It's Blago's fault." Geez Pat, it's a long time since Blago was Governor. When will you step up and take responsibility for what happens when you are governor? Sounds a lot like Obama....
Tom Brown January 14, 2014 at 09:34 AM
Oh, Angela…Get over it! Illinois is a huge employer. The governor can't review every employee in the prison system. The fact that he took action when he found out about this is great. I don't love everything Quinn does, but I have no problem with this. Why, when a problem is uncovered and fixed do people have to find fault with the fixer? I suppose he should have buried this problem? Oh, and Bush II did leave a massive mess for Obama. The Tea Party movement is a near-sighted reaction to the drastic measures that have to be taken to put things right again…It will take years.
McCloud January 14, 2014 at 04:27 PM
Blind faith in the drastic measures that will take years. Sounds like an easy way to dismiss failure.
Angela Kane January 14, 2014 at 10:17 PM
Illinois ended 2013 owing over $7.6 BILLION. Please tell me what a great job Pat Quinn is doing. I am so sick of people who start ragging on "the Tea Party movement" (your term) to diverts attention from the horrendous situation Illinois is in. Illinois is broken. It's time to admit that and stop the childish hogwash undertaken by folks who refuse to address the real issues that will harm us even more. Pat Quinn and his cronies keep dragging us down. Wake up folks. We are drowning in Illinois. Our country is in dire straits. We need to focus on solutions.
Tom Brown March 01, 2014 at 09:51 AM
This article isn't about the Illinois budget. I agree with you that it's disgusting. If Quinn had the absolute power to fix it and didn't, I'd say "hang him" but not in this article… This is about a guy who got a position with the state by illicit means during Blago. He was discovered. He was fired. The governor didn't hire him. The ex-governor probably didn't hire him either. Point is, he's gone and it's over. Was this hire Quinn's fault? No. Don't blame the cure for the disease.
Angela Kane March 01, 2014 at 01:25 PM
It's fairly obvious you are a Democrat and Pat Quinn supporter. Keep riding that horse--right into bankruptcy and all the failure that will bring. Illinois is drowning and continuing to support the same folks with the same "never hold him responsible" attitudes will keep us in the rapid downward spiral. Quinn is just as responsible as Blago because he is a puppet for the likes of Madigan and Cullerton. And how about that DCFS boss who was a crook and criminal that he appointed? How ya gonna foist that off on someone else?

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