Bexley News

Bexley Recreation Board

Director seeks written check policy for paid staff, volunteers

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Bexley Recreation Board members discussed formalizing the city Recreation and Parks Department's background check procedures for screening prospective employees and volunteers during a Dec. 4 meeting.

Recreation Director Michael Price said the department already uses the FBI and Ohio Attorney General's background-check systems to identify discrepancies that may raise a red flag, but he would like to have a written, formal policy in place.

"We have a common-sense approach about where we should draw the line with any kind of background check, but I'd like to formalize it so when I tell 'Coach Y' that they can't coach this year, it's because they didn't pass this very specific criteria," he said.

Price presented recreation board members with a list of "disqualifiers" that the National Alliance for Youth Sports recommends that organizations use to screen applicants.

The NAYS' list of disqualifiers that would bar applicants from working with children includes: homicide or manslaughter in any degree, attempted murder, rape, assault/battery and physical abuse of any kind, domestic violence, child neglect, felony drug crimes, animal cruelty, theft/robbery, forgery/fraud, kidnapping, arson and weapons violations.

Additionally, NAYS suggests organizations use their own discretion on whether to hire applicants for a list of misdemeanors that occurred in the last 15 years, including: driving while intoxicated, multiple driving citations/accidents in the last 15 years, petty theft and vehicular manslaughter.

Recreation board member Ann Brennan said she appreciates that the policy allows the department to evaluate applicants' misdemeanors on a case-by-case basis.

"I think it allows the board discretion," said.

The board also discussed how often it should conduct periodic background checks after employees and volunteers have started.

"If they do something illegal the next day (after a background check has been completed), the background check really does us no good. But it's obviously not feasible to do a background check every day," Price said. "We need to find out what is the comfort level, what's the industry standard."

Price said the department will use the NAYS guidelines until the board has an opportunity to vote on a formal, written policy at a future meeting.