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Local News

Santa Barbara Expanding Criminal Background Checks for Job Applicants

Santa Barbara will start running background checks on all job applicants, a policy change that puts additional scrutiny on hourly and non-peace officer personnel.

All prospective employees are asked to disclose felony and misdemeanor convictions and the city runs fingerprints through the California Department of Justice database for regular employees, not hourly workers, according to a city staff report.

Having a criminal record does not automatically disqualify people from getting hired, the city noted.

People applying for certain jobs get a federal criminal records check through the FBI, such as police, firefighters, police officers and jobs that supervise or work with children.

Typically the police department checks local records for hourly staff.

With the changes, the city will do a statewide fingerprint check for all hourly prospective employees and a federal check for all regular prospective employees.

The City Council unanimously approved the changes Tuesday but Councilman Gregg Hart spoke briefly before the vote and said the changes gave him pause.

Hart said he had talked to City Administrator Paul Casey about it, who said the background checks don’t prohibit the city from hiring people with records but help evaluate the truthfulness of applicants from what they disclose in their applications.  

If someone has a criminal record and discloses that in the application, that’s not necessarily a strike against them in being hired, Hart said. 

The background criminal checks cost $32 per employee for the statewide database and an additional $17 per employee for the federal system.

 Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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