In December 2021, the Trenton City Council voted 7-0 to dismiss its City Clerk, Matthew Conlon. The vote came “amid what one legislator called a ‘mass exodus’ of employees in the troubled clerk’s office, including three women who stepped forward last week with claims that the clerk sexually harassed them and created a toxic workplace.” Since Conlon was hired in August 2020, there have been three “investigation[s] into Conlon, who also faced outside probes into claims he made on his resume and a separate investigation into hostile workplace claims.”
A post-hire background check found a prior “criminal case [against Conlon] in Florida centered on allegations that Conlon siphoned off more than $100,000 from his disabled aunt. The charge was dismissed after the woman died while the case was pending.” /2/
Had Trenton learned during the hiring process of Conlon’s prior criminal activity, the city might have acted differently. It’s important that employers, especially government employers, maintain trust with the people they serve. All employers, including government employers, should support second chances, but these employers should, in addition to having open hearts, should also approach pre-hire background checks with their eyes wide open.
/1/ Isaac Avilucea, Council moves toward firing Trenton clerk Matthew Conlon, Dec. 1, 2021.
/2/ Isaac Avilucea, Conlon assails Trenton officials, Trentonian in rant at meeting, The Trentonian, Dec. 3, 2021.
Eric J. Ellman is Senior Vice President for Public Policy and Legal Affairs at the Consumer Data Industry Association (CDIA) in Washington, DC. He also served for eight months as Interim President and CEO of the Association. More