City of Tallahassee Ending Background Checks?

Nick Fishman

In this week’s story of the absurd, the city of Tallahassee, Florida has proposed dropping their practice of performing background checks on internal hires, a measure that will save them, wait for it . . .  $5,000.00.  No, your eyes are not deceiving you.  That is five thousand dollars.

Are you kidding?  Government officials probably spend that entertaining donors to their re-election campaign for lunch.

See City of Tallahassee Proposes Ending Criminal Checks for Employees for Promotion

They site the fact that of the 714 checks that they’ve performed on those seeking promotions, only one check has caused them to deny a promotion.  In that case, the city denied promotion to a garbage truck driver who had a history of arrests for dealing drugs.  Okay, 1 in 714 isn’t bad.  But think about it, what if they didn’t conduct the check on this person and decided to move forward with the promotion.  Do you think the harm this person may have caused could have exceeding $5,000?  Could it have exceeded $50,000? $500,000?  I’m guessing it could have.  What if the person decided to sell drugs on paid time?  Many drug dealers carry weapons.  What if trouble occurred at work?  What happens if the individual used some of his/her product on the job as most drug dealer do?  I’m thinking that the costs of investigating, terminating and finding a replacement might exceed $5,000.  That’s not to mention potential litigation.  And that’s just one person.

Continuous employment screening is on the rise as noted in our 2009 Top Background Screening Trends to Follow.  Remember, a background check, while a good indicator of past behavior and predictive tool of future behavior, is only good the day it was conducted.  If an individual is convicted of a crime any time after that search is conducted, you’ll never know unless someone tells you about it.

It seems to me that such a large city should be wise enough to find other ways to reduce their spend.

Nick Fishman
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Nick Fishman

Nick Fishman is the co-founder of EmployeeScreenIQ, a leading, global employment background screening provider, and serves as the company’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. He pioneered the creation of EmployeeScreen University, the #1 educational resource on employment background checks for human resources, security and risk management professionals. A recognized industry expert, Nick is a frequent author, presenter and contributor to the news media. Nick is also a licensed private investigator in the states of Ohio and Texas.
Nick Fishman
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