State agency's hiring of ex-cop with federal conviction 'a massive mistake,' Batinick said
An Illinois regulatory agency's decision to hire a former Chicago police officer with a past that included close ties to the Mickey Cobras street gang was "a massive mistake," Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) said during a recent interview.
"I don't know the details of the situation, but it is clearly a massive mistake in the vetting process," Batinick told the Will County Gazette.
Batinick offered no suggestions about what to do about the former police officer's hiring, but did say something needed to be done fast.
"The situation needs to be handled quickly," he said.
A report issued following an investigation by the Illinois Office of Executive Inspector General (OEIG) revealed that the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) hired former Chicago police officer Tashika Miner despite her past criminal history of drug and gang-related federal convictions.
Chicago City Wire recently published an article about the OEIG's report and, until now, appears to have been the only Chicago-area news organization to cover the story.
Miner's LinkedIn profile, which listed her full name as Tashika Sledge-Miner and has since been removed, also listed her current profession as an IDFPR investigator.
Batinick was unopposed during the Republican primary. He faces a challenge from Democrat Mica Freeman in November's general election in the 97th House District, which includes parts of Kendall and Will counties.
A front-page article in the May edition of the Illinois inspector general's newsletter Illinois Ethics Matters referred to the OEIG's report and said the OEIG found the IDFPR "had an inadequate criminal history review process."
"The applicant disclosed the conviction prior to being hired by IDFPR, but an Illinois State Police (ISP) background check did not list the conviction because most background checks provided by ISP report only Illinois state convictions," the newsletter said. "The IDFPR Human Resources (HR) staff person responsible for screening applicants failed to inquire about the inconsistency between the ISP report and the former police officer’s IDFPR paperwork."
In her current position with the IDFPR, Miner "may have access to confidential information from Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Illinois," the OEIG's report said.
Great care should be taken in hiring employees to work at the IDFPR, Batinick said.
"Because of the sensitive information the IDPFR has, we need to make sure its employees are individuals of excellent moral character," he said.