NYC Fails to Review Over 6,000 Background Checks
This week the Department of Transportation for New York City discovered over 6,000 background checks for city workers have been backlogged and not reviewed before being offered a job. This means thousands of workers for the city have gotten employment without proper review of sex offender registry, county and federal criminal record checks.
How did this happen?
The DOI reports they are finally making headway in shifting through all of these checks, but how did this happen in the first place? “We know there is a serious backlog and are concerned,” DOI Commissioner Mark Peters said in a statement. “This, however, is a result of a very thorough process and too few staff.”
Each of DOI’s 16 background check investigators is working on an average of 160 reviews, DOI said. With too few staff, hundreds of checks have gone more than three years without being reviewed. This could be a huge issue for New York state should any workers be found with federal crime records or sex offender registry on their checks that the city did not review before offering them positions that have gone to compensate upwards of $100,000 a year.
There are approximately 2,000 city workers who fall into those categories each year, according to DOI. That number has steadily gone up as the city now employs close to 294,000 full-time staffers, a historic high, payroll records show. Further complicating the matter, DOI recently audited two unnamed city agencies and discovered more than 1,000 staffers who were never even sent over for background checks. The employees are now being checked.
This has apparently been an ongoing problem for the DOI of NYC but with more employees every year falling through the cracks, where will the line be drawn? “This has always been a problem,” said a former high-ranking DOI official during the Bloomberg administration. “It kind of makes a mockery of the whole system.”