Missouri City Passes New Background Check Restrictions for Parks and Recreation Department Employees and Volunteers

By Michael Klazema on 12/11/2013

The Parks and Recreation board of Lee’s Summit, Missouri recently passed a new proposal tightening background checks on its employees and volunteers. A similar proposal has been percolating within the Parks department for several months now, but administrators were initially hesitant to tighten background check policies, fearing that they would prove “too restrictive” in scope. However, there was a recent incident in the city, involving the coach of a youth soccer team who secretly filmed members of his team nude in his home. The man is now facing a federal conviction for the attempted production of child pornography.

Parents in Lee’s Summit are likely glad that the incident did not involve more harmful sexual offenses or assaults, but the incident has undoubtedly put the spotlight on the city’s Parks and Recreation department and its background check policies.

Not that the Lee’s Summit Parks and Rec department had previously allowed employees to have close contact with children without any form of pre-screening. On the contrary, the Parks department has always required its employees to go through some form of background check. The newly approved proposal, however, will bring the department into closer step with the National Recreation and Parks Association. In the past, the Lee’s Summit Parks department has always been notably less strict than its federal parent organization.

In fact, Lee’s Summit will remain a bit more lenient than the national association. The new background checks policy will look mostly at criminal records and offender registries, disqualifying or approving potential employees or volunteers based on a number of criteria. Similar criminal and offender checks are offered on an affordable basis from

For instance, any previous sex offense is grounds for immediate disqualification from employment consideration. Felonies committed in the past 10 years also place applicants on the virtual blacklist, as do misdemeanor offenses involving violence (in the past seven years) or drugs (in the past five years). Finally, applicants who have been convicted for supplying a minor with alcohol, or who have any past connection with a kidnapping charge, will not be considered for employment or volunteer status with the Lee’s Summit Parks and Recreation department.

The major difference between the Lee’s Summit rules and the recommendations of the National Recreation and Parks Association is that the Lee’s Summit department has chosen not to view misdemeanor alcohol charges as a reason for rejecting volunteers. The organization reasoned that, since the area is home to many young families or recent college graduates, many otherwise qualified volunteers may have old minor in possession charges (MIP) or driving under the influence charges (DUI) that they are trying to work past.


Tag Cloud
Recent Posts

Latest News

  • December 04 Chicago Public Schools has dismissed hundreds of employees, coaches, vendors, and volunteers based on background check findings. The district recently vowed to re-check the majority of its 68,000 employees after a Chicago Tribune investigation revealed holes in its background check policies.
  • November 29 Striving to create a safer environment more conducive to productive training and leadership development, the Army has recently moved to adopt a uniform policy of background checks for certain roles. 
  • November 27 California’s biggest public school district is waiving the cost of volunteer background checks. The move is meant to encourage more family - and community members to get involved with the school district.
  • November 22 Contractors play an important role in the workforce, delivering services to both individuals and organizations. Vetting contractors for suitability continues to be a challenge, as two recent articles prove.
  • November 21 When it comes to background and pre-employment checks, it can be instructive to look at the characteristics of the ten most massive U.S. employers.
  • November 20 The #MeToo movement is bringing about legislative changes employers need to know about. We review some of the laws recently passed in California.
  • November 19

    Will a criminal conviction show up on your background check forever? In most states, there is a year limit for how long background check companies can report older criminal information.

  • November 15

    Replacing an inconsistent array of procedures, Ontario's government has passed into law a reform act intended to clarify how police departments should handle requests for information to be used in background checks. 

  • November 14 The federal government has vowed to cut its backlog of security clearance background checks in half by spring. Currently, the backlog is approximately 600,000 names strong.
  • November 12 To ensure the best hires, DFWSPF has implemented a stringent employee screening process—one that includes background searches through