City to beef up vetting process

Filed under DAYTONA BEACH

Background checks coming for future members of boards

BY JAMES HARPER
DAYTONA TIMES

Daytona Beach residents interested in serving on one of the city’s boards soon will be subjected to criminal background checks.

Assistant City Manager Betty Goodman confirmed to the Daytona Times this week that Daytona Beach is restructuring the application and the process, which will include criminal background checks.

“Before the change is totally finalized, everything will be reviewed by our legal department, police and the city manager,” Goodman said.

The boards include the Affordable Housing Advisory Committee, Beautification/Tree Advisory Board, Board of Adjustment, Board of Building Codes, Code Enforcement Board, Community Development Citizens Advisory Board, Community Relations Council, Daytona Beach Municipal Golf Course Advisory Board, Daytona Beach Racing & Recreation Facilities Commission, Downtown Ballough Road Redevelopment Area Board, Downtown Development Authority, Economic Development Advisory Board, Enterprise Zone Development Agency, Historic Preservation Board, Housing Authority Commission, Main Street/South Atlantic Redevelopment Area Board and Mayor’s Alliance for Persons with Disabilities and the Midtown Area Redevelopment Board.

Woods wants thorough vetting of applicants
Commissioner Pam Woods says there needs to be a more thorough process in place for vetting applicants.
“I would ask that they get vetted before they get put on the agenda. Some information I had on someone had not been researched at all,” she noted. There are currently residents on city boards who are convicted felons.

Commissioner Robert Gilliland pointed out at the last city commission meeting that there is no rule in place that bars people with a criminal record from serving on city boards.

“What do we do with the results of background checks?  Just having more information may not prohibit someone from being able to serve,” Gilliland stated.

Woods added, “I don’t want to get up and talk about someone in a meeting. I’m asking that we do more than we have been.’’ She noted that having a criminal past or other issues that may be discovered would not automatically disqualify someone from being appointed to a board.

Commissioner: We need to know
The commissioner also said she doesn’t want to be blindsided with information about a person after he or she already has been voted on by the commissioners.

The application currently does not ask about a past arrest record.

City Attorney Marie Hartman said the city can do background checks, which will be required of all future board members, including those reapplying to serve on the boards.

Woods said it is important that the city at least know about potential board applicants’ criminal pasts.

“They may have something five or six years ago. It may be irrelevant, (but) we need to know that,” she added.

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