TOWSON, Maryland (WJZ) – A new report shows Baltimore County has a habit of retaining employees who have committed crimes or endured financial hardship that could create safety concerns.
Baltimore County Inspector General Kelly Madigan highlighted these issues in a report on the Baltimore County Job Training Program, which she released today. His office found that more than 25% of the county’s 300 employees had one or more “significant financial issues in their history” that ranged from defaults by creditors to tax evasion and even filing for bankruptcy.
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Some have even faced criminal charges.
Due to oversight gaps, county officials risked unknowingly hiring people who had committed crimes but had not yet been arrested for them, Madigan noted in a Nov. 4 letter to Stacy Rodgers, the county administrative officer.
The Office of the Inspector General’s report found that a large number of county employees had never undergone a background check just because they had been hired before the employment history program was created. County. To date, “no policy exists to update background checks” and there is no way “to identify employees with current tenures or who have significant financial problems,” according to a statement. release published by the Office of the Inspector General.
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Madigan noted in her letter that “there would be costs associated with implementing the kinds of improvements to the employment history program” that were recommended in the report. At a minimum, the “county should appropriately weigh these future expenses against the potential costs to the county of not identifying the types of personnel risks identified in this report,” Madigan told Rodgers.
Madigan noted in her letter that several employees were grappling with criminal charges or financial issues. Some of them had even been convicted of their crimes, which included “offenses such as assault, bodily harm, robbery, drunk driving and illegal possession of a handgun,” he said. she declared.
Other employees suffered from financial hardships such as defaulting on credit, defaulting on rent for long periods, or filing for bankruptcy. Among that group were those with privileges related to state tax, federal tax or district courts, Madigan said in his letter to Rodgers. Employees were not required to report these things to the county.
Rodgers agreed with Madigan’s assessments in a December 30 letter. But she said the county has been working to be proactive in maintaining better criminal background check procedures for government employees and county staff. Rodgers noted that some agencies have previously asked their staff to sign up for a free service called RAP-BACK, which maintains a record of arrests and prosecutions so that government agencies can receive updates on the criminal history of individuals. employees.
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Unfortunately, the RAP-BACK program is not available to county general employees under current Maryland law, Rodgers said in his letter. The county plans to fill that gap by using FY2023 funding to cover additional background checks, she said.