EAST CHICAGO | The Park Board has postponed a decision on whether to approve a contract with Star Security and Investigation to conduct background checks on potential employees.
Sandra Favela, human resources director, addressed the board and said the city has begun using the Merrillville-based company to screen workers.
She said there is currently an effort underway to hire six part-time recreation leaders whose work would include involvement with youths and the elderly at recreation centers in the city.
Favela said five background checks already have been conducted and three part-time workers have been hired to fill the positions.
Richard Gillis, Park Board vice president, questioned why an outside agency would be needed and suggested the human resources department should be able to find all it needs on an individual if it has that person's name, address and Social Security number.
Park Board member Gilberto Cantu requested more information for the next board meeting and wanted to know what other city departments had decided on the matter.
Favela said she brought the issue before the board so the city can pay the vendor for its contract.
She said each background check for the six part-time recreation leaders would cost $60.
"I know that we've done this in the past, and we've gone through the East Chicago Police Department to do the background check and I don't believe they were as costly," Park Board President Lilia Ramos said.
Favela said she was advised there could be a conflict of interest if the Police Department were to conduct the checks.
Park Board Secretary Valda Lewis made a motion to vote on approving the contract, but it died for lack of a second. Board member Rick Rodriguez was not present at the meeting.
Favela said Park Board approval was ultimately not necessary because the amount was not over $500.
"We really didn't have to go to this step, but we did it as a courtesy to tell them that we're using this company and it's going to come out of their contractual services," Favela said.