Michigan Audit Highlights Background Check Concerns for Office of Infrastructure Protection

By Michael Klazema on 8/3/2017
A recent audit of Michigan’s Office of Infrastructure Protection found that the department’s background check policies for both employees and contractors need updates. The Office of Infrastructure Protection (or OIP, as it is often abbreviated) is an office that exists within Michigan’s Department of Technology, Management, and Budget (DTMB). According to the website, the OIP “is responsible for security measures and response to and management of emergency situations in all DTMB-managed facilities.”

Per a report from the Lansing State Journal, though, the OIP may not be performing that job as efficiently as possible. A report prepared by the Michigan Auditor General recommended several changes to help OIP improve the safety and emergency preparedness of the 39 facilities managed by DTMB throughout the state.

Among the auditor recommendations were calls for better background checks throughout OIP. The shortcomings of the OIP’s existing background check policies were twofold.

First, the OIP does not currently perform repeat background checks on contractors. Full-time employees and part-time employees undergo recurring checks on a semi-regular basis, but contractors are not held to the same standard. State policy requires that OIP runs recurring background checks on all personnel—including contractors—but hasn’t yet fully complied with that rule.

Second, the OIP currently only runs background checks through a state criminal database. The Auditor General encouraged DTMB to seek legislative change that would enable OIP to run fingerprint background checks on both employees and contractors. This change, the audit notes, “would allow for the query of national criminal history databases” and would help OIP discover criminal offenses committed in other states.

Since OIP employees often work with sensitive state records or DTMB cyber security systems, the Auditor General believes that background check updates would help ensure better security across the board. “We recommend that OIP improves its criminal history background check process to mitigate the risk of exposure of State resources to individuals with unsuitable backgrounds,” the audit report read.

In addition to background check updates, the Auditor General also urged OIP and DTMB to keep better records of personnel background checks. Currently, OIP does not maintain “investigation documents” because they include personally identifiable information.

Based on the audit report, DTMB was willing to cooperate with the Auditor General’s recommendations. The department has already pledged to improve its background check policies, including the addition of a recurring background check strategy for contractors and a push for multi-jurisdictional background checks for all personnel.


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