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updated: 1/8/2014 7:30 PM

Quinn backs prisons director

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Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD -- A Republican candidate for governor is calling for the ouster of the state prisons chief over the hiring of an alleged ex-gang member who held a $111,000-a-year job as an adviser in the corrections department.

"It's outrageous that former gang members are now running the prisons," Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale said in a statement seeking the removal of Department of Corrections Director S.A. "Tony" Godinez.

A spokeswoman for Quinn said the governor stands behind Godinez and said Quinn took immediate action when he became aware of problems in the record of Xadrian McCraven, who was a senior policy adviser in the parole division. McCraven was fired Friday.

The Chicago Sun-Times originally reported on McCraven's hiring by the Department of Corrections after he was dismissed from the Department of Children and Family Services for spending work time writing and responding to "lewd" and "highly sexualized" emails, lying about his credentials and improperly using agency resources.

He won a grievance over the dismissal through his union, accepted a 10-day suspension, received six months' back pay and was transferred to Corrections.

The Sun-Times also reported that 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, according to the newspaper.

Dillard, one of four candidates seeking the Republican nomination to take on Democrat Quinn in the fall, also is seeking an investigation by the governor's inspector general and a review by the state auditor general into the hiring of McCraven, 44.

"We have zero tolerance for unethical behavior in state government," Brooke Anderson, the spokeswoman for Quinn, said in an emailed response. "Anytime there has been any allegation of wrongdoing or unethical conduct, the administration has taken immediate action, and this case was no different."

Anderson said McCraven had no "management or security duties and certainly was not involved in `running the prisons' at any level."

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