Town’s prime watchdog company is so behind in conducting background checks for brand spanking new metropolis staff that it doesn’t anticipate to catch up for one more three to 4 years, a prime official stated.
In preparation for a Metropolis Council listening to on the topic Monday, Division of Investigation Commissioner Margaret Garnett despatched a memo final month to the Council’s monetary analyst, Jack Stern, noting the backlog had dropped to five,328 staff by the tip of 2019 partly as a result of company hiring further investigators.
That’s 15 p.c fewer than final March when Garnett testified at a Council investigation’s committee listening to that the backlog had reached 6,300 – together with 1,900 circumstances courting again to 2016 that have been but to be reviewed. The caseload briefly rose to a excessive of 6,480 final July.
Nevertheless, Garnett additionally stated within the memo dated Jan. 24, that even with an additional 13 investigators, DOI doesn’t anticipate to “shut the backlog” for one more “36-48 months.”
Councilman Ritchie Torres (D-Bronx), who chairs the investigations committee, stated he appreciates the DOI’s “higher sense of urgency” in decreasing its backlog however the “sheer measurement stays embarrassing.”
“The longer these background investigations languish, the much less worth these investigations turn into,” the councilman informed The Publish Sunday.
“What’s the worth in conducting a background investigation three, 4, 5 years after the hiring of an worker?”
He stated failing to cut back the backlog leaves the town extra susceptible to hiring sexual pervs and different dangerous apples — even all through the “higher ranges of metropolis authorities.”
As an illustration, DOI by no means acquired round to doing a full background verify on David Hay, a former ex-deputy chief of employees on the Division of Training fired late final yr after being arrested for allegedly making an attempt to rearrange intercourse with a 14-year-old boy in Wisconsin.
Torres known as Hay’s hiring a “debacle,” including that he plans to ask Garnett and different DOI employees at Monday’s investigations committee listening to how Hay fell by the cracks to work “on the highest stage of DOE.”
Torres additionally stated there are unanswered questions on Kevin O’Brien, a former prime aide to Mayor Invoice de Blasio.
O’Brien was employed in 2016, solely months after being canned from a earlier put up on the Democratic Governors Affiliation in Washington, DC, following allegations of committing sexual harassment.
He wound up being quietly sacked by the town in 2017 for allegedly sexually harassing two metropolis staffers.
O’Brien had submitted DOI notarized background varieties that didn’t record the earlier allegations earlier than the town employed him, Garnett testified on the Council listening to final March.
DOI stated that as of Sunday, it had decreased the backlog all the way down to about four,895 staff, including that Garnett acknowledges “the intense difficulty she inherited” when changing former Commissioner Mark Peters in November 2018 and has taken “steps” to handle it with the extra staffing.
The company stated its purpose is to finish background investigations inside six months
“Finally, hiring companies, not DOI, make the choice concerning whether or not to attend for the result of a background investigation earlier than permitting an worker to start working,” DOI stated.