City Council of New Bedford Creates Background Check Ordinance

By Michael Klazema on 3/27/2013

Last fall, a city worker from New Bedford was arrested, which turned up the fact that he had a criminal record. In order to potentially prevent this from happening again, the city council has decided to implement a mandatory background check ordinance on all future city workers.

The ordinance was proposed by Brian Gomes, Councilor-at-Large, who explained that city jobs will only be given to candidates who pass their criminal offender record check. He said it was not their intention to prevent good people from working for the city, but the man who was arrested had a criminal record “longer than his arm.”

The arrested city worker, Brandon Medeiros, was working for the Department of Public Facilities when he was arrest for robbing a store on August 21st. When his lengthy criminal record was revealed, the city only then discovered he was on probation for a previous home invasion conviction. When the public heard about the arrest, the city claimed they were barred from performing CORI checks, but state officials denied these claims, saying they were free to determine whether or not someone had a criminal record. They merely need to be sure that they deny potential employees for the right reason, not simply because of a past conviction.

The proposed ordinance has not yet been officially put in place, so officials did not want to comment on the matter just yet. This week, they are debating the background check issue and began to tweak the language of the previous ordinance. After this is finished, the entire council will need to approve it as well as the mayor. Only then can it be officially adopted. James Oliveira, city councilor, believes it will be approved without issue, because he says, “You want to know who you’re bring in.”

The background check will serve as due diligence and protect the city should an employee perform an illegal act in the future. They are still unsure though, which convictions should be disqualifiers and which offenses could possibly be overlooked. Some believe they shouldn’t get into legal specifics in this area, because it could cause problems down the road. Instead, each applicant and their history should be reviewed in a case-by-case basis.

They are also discussing whether or not current employees should be required to undergo background checks. It sound like, so far, it will only affect future employees though, but this could change as talks resume. Gomes was happy about the action taken so far though, saying, “We just want to protect the city.”

With more and more businesses and nonprofit organization implementing background checks, it’s important that they use a reliable and professional source. They can get this from, which has access to criminal records nationwide and makes sure they have the most accurate and up to date information available. With their US OneSEARCH tool, businesses can check more than 450 million criminal records for a given name and social security number. If they want to know more about an applicant than just their criminal history, also provides education and reference verifications. For organizations that want to go the extra mile, they can even get Ongoing Criminal Monitoring, which means if any employee is convicted of a crime, the administration will be sent a notice immediately.

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