The city has a backlog of more than 5,000 background checks for municipal employees, according to the chair of the City Council’s Committee on Oversight and Investigations, and he’s moving to put the fire under investigators' feet.
The city would have until 2023 to complete the investigations, under a bill Councilman Ritchie Torres (D-Bronx) plans to introduce on Wednesday.
“We’ve seen the hiring of dubious people in city government,” he told the Daily News, pointing to Mayor de Blasio’s former acting chief of staff Kevin O’Brien, who was quietly pushed out amid sexual harassment complaints, and former top Education Department official David Hay, who was busted for child porn.
“There needs to be a statutory deadline for closing the backlog to ensure that background investigations are never put on the back burner,” Torres said. “There is no such thing as ‘good government’ without careful vetting of who’s pulling the levers of power.”
In addition to setting a deadline for finishing the old background checks, Torres’s bill would require the Department of Investigation to come up with a plan to fill current gaps in the process.
Asked whether the agency has the manpower to do this, the councilman said, “DOI has been bolstering its staffing when it comes to background investigations.”
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