The “Baltimore County’s Inspector General [OIG] is concerned over the lack of background checks that general employees in local government are subjected to.” According to a 2021 report by the OIG, 15% of all current County workers have not had a background check conducted, and from 2008 – 2021, 73 people were hired despite the past criminal activity. According to the report, a number of county employees with convictions include assault, battery, robbery, DWI, and illegal handgun possession. In one case, the IG noted that the County was “employing a convicted felon in a position that required the employee to interact with the public in and around private residences.”
A news report said that “numerous employees had defaulted on credit obligations, failed to pay rent for extended periods of time, filed for bankruptcy, or had state or federal tax liens filed against them in court.” These workers can “have access to sensitive data, process or manage financial information, or are entrusted with the County’s physical assets,” wrote the inspector general.
Taxpayers and the public at large do not expect to be criminally victimized by public employees, whose salaries are paid for by the taxpayers. Yet, when government agencies hire workers with criminal records, like fraud, DWI, and assault, the public is at risk.
Ryan Dickstein, Inspector General concerned over lack of criminal background checks for Baltimore County employees, WMAR Channel 2, Jan. 6, 2022, Baltimore County Office of the Inspector General, OIG External Report 20-015, Nov. 4, 2021.