Village of North Syracuse considers background checking

The subject of background checks for new village employees came up during the April 26 meeting of the North Syracuse Village Board. The board is considering how best to implement such a system, what the needs are and what the requirements should be.

“We're in the research mode right now,” Mayor Mark Atkinson said.

Talk surrounded the use of CHAIRS, the Criminal History Arrest Incident Reporting System provided by the county, and its limitations.

“We're looking at some different options right now to continue to provide background checks,” said Atkinson. “We're going to see if we're going to come up with a reasonable fee that comes up with a reasonable check that keeps us out of legal trouble. We're looking for the conviction side. It's easy to get ‘that person was charged,’ but finding out what happened at the end of that litigation has been the difficult part.”

Atkinson promoted the idea of using the current CHAIRS procedure to screen those being interviewed. If an arrest showed up on CHAIRS, the interviewee can be asked to provide proof of how the case was disposed.

One of the biggest limitations of CHAIRS, however, is that it is limited to reporting those arrested within the county. Teresa Roth, director of parks and recreation, found that problematic.

“This is a real issue with us,” she said. “Our summer staff is working with kids. For my purposes, I wouldn't be comfortable with just doing [a search] here in the county.”

The mayor emphasized that his only reason for delving into the issue was for the protection of the people of the village and also protecting the community from any liability.

No action was taken at Thursday’s meeting on the issue.

In other news, after three interviews, the fire department has selected a new firehouse caretaker. The position was granted to Kyle Wilmer and is salaried at $22,000. Two camp directors were also rehired by the parks and recreation department.

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