Mid-sized New York Town Adds Background Checks for All City Employees

By Michael Klazema on 2/7/2014

Greenburgh, New York might be a little bit late to the background check scene than many similarly-sized cities and towns throughout the United States, but it’s better to be late than to never arrive at all. The town – which has a population of approximately 90,000 people, according to the 2010 census – recently made the decision to require all of its new city employees over the age of 18 to undergo background checks, full and part-time workers alike. Background checks will also be required for seasonal employees.

It does not currently appear as if the town of Greenburgh intends to require background checks of its existing employees as well, though a policy to that measure could certainly transpire in the future if the city government is pleased with their chosen vendor of background screenings. Part-time and seasonal employees, on the other hand, will be required to submit to background checks on an annual basis. Full-time employees will evidently only have to pass a background check once. The check will be performed during the application and interview process and prior to an offer of employment.

In the past, Greenburgh has been fairly conservative with its background check policy, only running screenings on high-ranking city officials. With institutions around the nation ramping up their background check policies – from daycare centers to schools – the town of Greenburgh believed it was time to make things a bit more secure in city government. That decision led to the new criminal background check policy, which was approved by the Greenburgh Town Board and published on the town’s website at the end of January.

Greenburgh’s new background checks system will include a variety of steps to create a comprehensive background check. One area of focus is an “address history derived from a social security number trace” check, used to identify where the applicant lives currently and where he or she has lived in recent years, and a “smart criminal check,” which utilizes this information to determine key county and state jurisdictions where direct court searches will check for criminal records
for the applicant in question.

However, while Greenburgh’s policy focuses on areas of residency for criminal activity checks, the town’s new policy displays an understanding that the best safeguards come from complementing such searches with database searches to uncover records for jurisdictions where the subject did not live, but might have worked or travelled. With that in mind, the Greenburgh criminal background check policy includes allowances for nationwide criminal and sex offender checks. The systems the town will use for nationwide checks are similar to US OneSEARCH and US Registered Offender OneSEARCH,’s instant criminal and sex offender check systems. Both systems run nationwide screenings, perusing hundreds of millions of criminal records and looking through numerous sex offender registries to root out any unsavory employees.


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