The director of the Ipswich, Massachusetts, Recreation Department was recently put on unpaid leave after it was found that she had failed to conduct background checks
on department employees as required by law.
An investigation uncovered that some employees had worked for the town for up to a year without undergoing a criminal history
check, according to the Enterprise newspaper. "It's a serious violation of the law," town manager Bob Markel told the Salem News. "It's not just the law, it's a liability. The town is liable for anything that would happen." Betty Dorman, the department's director, has been an employee since 1981. She told the news source that she had trouble logging onto the state's website to file Criminal Offender Registration Information paperwork and then became preoccupied with other duties. "I was negligent," the former teacher admitted, as quoted by the Salem News. "I knew in the back of my mind I should do it and I just didn't get to it." The department, which runs a summer day camp at a local park, continues to operate the camp with a skeleton staff comprised of two employees who have already passed the background screening
. A total of 11 workers who have not yet been vetted were put on temporary leave until their results come back, the Salem News reports. According to the Enterprise, Markel has authorized Dorman to continue working for the department without pay in order to keep up with administrative duties. Markel told the Salem News that he does not expect the background investigation
to turn up anything incriminating about the 11 employees, who range in age from 14 to 21. However, a CORI check on a former worker who left the department several months ago found that she had three drug- and alcohol-related charges on her record. According to the Salem News, the town has been considering cutting the Recreation Department's budget for the past six months after an investigation found that it offered many of the same programs as the YMCA and School Department. The Recreation Department's budget - which currently stands at just over $150,000 - would decrease by one-third if the cuts are implemented. "We're not zeroing out the department, we're downsizing it," Markel told the news source. "Things just can't remain the same (when) we have limited resources."