The House and Senate sent a bill to Governor Deval Patrick last week that would add funding to family shelters, youth jobs, and low-income disabled residents in Boston. The spending amounted to $72 million for the rest of the year due to funding that would have run out in June. A portion of the bill, including requiring the Gaming Commission to require background checks and drug screening for all employees, was amended at the last minute, and he decided to veto that section. The amendment was apparently in response to the Commission attempting to hire Stanley McGee as its new interim executive director. McGee previously settled a lawsuit out of court with the family of a boy he was accused of sexually abusing. Patrick did not seem to think this warranted stricter requirements for the state agency though. Currently, McGee is an assistant economic development secretary for Patrick’s administration, which is causing some to wonder if Patrick had alternate motives for his veto.
Patrick explained his decision by saying that, “the highest levels of background checks and screening may not be necessary nor appropriate for every employee.” Currently, the Gaming Commission uses its own discretion when it comes to hiring, though some believe any agency with such status should be upheld to the highest of standards. Now, though they have the option to carry out background checks if they so choose, hiring and the consequences of their hiring will be completely up to the Gaming Commission. Brad Jones, House minority leader and proposer of the amendment, says that any future consequences on their part will now also, “fall on the doorstep of the governor.” Other representatives are concerned that the veto will lead to more corruption. With the Gaming Commission being such a tempting industry for financial criminals and other types of criminal interests, “leaving weak links in the chain is an invitation.” said Representative Daniel Winslow as he reminded reporters of mobster James “Whitey” Bulger as a past hire of the Commission. He, among others, is concerned that this will not be the last major criminal to find their way into the Commission.
The question seems to be whether or not all employees of the Gaming Commission would really need such deep background checking. The Governor cited secretaries as an example. When it was the head of the interim Head getting looked into though, he stepped down before background checks could be finished, which does look suspicious to those now calling for the extra safety measures. One representative hired an outside company, much like backgroundchecks.com which turned up the previous arrests of McGee, including the sexual abuse situation. Companies like backgroundchecks.com can find convictions relating to these matters using national databases like US OneSEARCH and US AliasSEARCH, which can in some cases catch criminals who have been convicted of crimes in other states before they enter sensitive positions, such as those affiliated with the Gaming Commission. These databases are regularly updated by dedicated teams, making sure companies who partner with backgroundchecks.com have the most accurate information possible for their hiring processes.
it seems like the Massachusetts House of Representatives felt strongly about the full background screening requirement and on Wednesday May 30th voted unanimously to override the Governor's veto, ensuring that all employees of the state's Gaming Commission are again required to undergo a full criminal background check and pass a drug screen test.
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Source for update: http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2012/05/30/mass_house_overrides_govs_background_check_veto/