EAST CHICAGO | The Park Board voted last week to approve Star Security and Investigation for future background checks on potential employees.
The board last month postponed a decision on whether to approve a contract with the Merrillville-based company.
The board had questioned why the East Chicago Police Department could not conduct the checks.
"It used to be the Police Department, but they no longer can do it because it is, according to the attorney, a conflict of interest," Park Board President Lilia Ramos said.
Joseph Allegretti, city corporation counsel, told the board last month that federal and state statutes say police can use the system that offers access to large criminal databases only in conjunction with criminal investigations.
"I can't see how it could be a conflict of interest if this is the city of East Chicago and you're talking about hiring employees for the city of East Chicago," Park Board Vice President Richard Gillis said.
The board also wanted to know if the matter had been brought before other city boards for approval.
Ramos said she received an email from the Human Resources Department that said the Sanitary District had recently approved Star Security and Investigation for its background checks.
Gillis was the only board member on Tuesday to oppose the approval of an agreement with Star Security and Investigation. Board member Rick Rodriguez was not present for the vote.
The board ultimately approved the agreement after having received quotes from two other local companies that Ramos said wanted to charge $150 for each background check.
She said Star Security and Investigation will charge $60 for a basic background check.