Minnesota County Elects to Conduct Background Checks

Mower County officials elected to begin conducting criminal background checks before hiring certain employees. “This is just common sense,” Mower County Attorney Kristen Nelsen said. “You need to know who you are hiring. With the information that’s out there, the public presumes that you know.” “We have an obligation to the taxpayers to make sure our employees are not a danger to others out there,” said Mower County Coordinator Craig Oscarson. The change will likely affect new hires in sensitive positions, especially those that commonly interact with the public or visit homes. Background checks may even be performed on employees who are promoted within the county after discussion with county unions. Background checks will not be used to decide between candidates but only performed on the top candidate for the position. Also – minor crimes will be held for consideration. “There’s the philosophy that if it’s a minor crime and you’ve done your time, you should be given a clean bill of health,” Oscarson said. Mower County already performs background checks on all law enforcement hires including sheriff’s deputies, dispatchers, and jailers.