Six months ago, the residents of Greenley, Colorado unknowingly elected a convicted felon to a city council position. To prevent something similar from happening in the future, the city has officially adopted background checks and tougher affidavits for all new city council members.
Per a report from the Greenley Tribune, changes were presented to the members of the Greenley Council on Tuesday, May 8. Among the topics of discussion were the new candidate affidavits, which are designed to prevent candidates from lying or withholding facts when entering a public election. The affidavits are relevant to the election of former councilman Eddie Mirick, who lied about his criminal background when he ran for city councilman last year.
Mirick was elected to serve on the Greenley City Council in November 2017. Just days before the election, the Greenley Tribune reported that Mirick had a felony forgery conviction on his record from 1978. Mirick had pleaded guilty to the crime. Despite the report, Mirick ultimately won the election to earn a seat on the council. He served as councilman for roughly a month, after which his election was questioned and overturned by a district court judge.
Mirick’s election highlighted several oversights in the Greenley election process—notably, the lack of any type of criminal background check. Greenley was relying largely on the honor system, with affidavits that asked candidates if they had previously been convicted of any crimes. Mirick said he didn’t have past convictions, and the city did not conduct any checks to verify his statement.
At backgroundchecks.com, we recommend a “trust but verify” approach for our clients. While asking about criminal history on job applications is becoming rarer and rarer—thanks to the rise of ban the box legislation—it also isn’t always used in places where it is legal.
Ideally, your candidate will be telling the truth. Still, a series of criminal history checks—such as our county and state checks, or our US OneSEARCH multi-jurisdictional database search—would help to verify this statement and locate any potential red flags.
Greenley will implement new candidate affidavits. By signing the affidavit, candidates consent to national criminal history checks. The affidavits also include a statement that all candidates who do not meet listed qualifications will be disqualified from the election. One required qualification is that no candidate can have a felony conviction on his or her record.
The current Greenley City Council expects the background checks to cost about $50 per person, to be paid by the candidates.