Possible police screen for city committee members

Coun. David Murphy, seen here second from right during a council meeting on Dec. 8, 2014, is proposing to have members of the public undergo a police background check before they sit on a city committee. A report will come to council Dec. 16 during a water and sewer budget meeting. (Cornwall Newswatch/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – Residents who wanted to be on city committees may be met with a question – will you undergo a criminal background check?

Couns. David Murphy and Maurice Dupelle are proposing the screening for all members of the public (called lay members) in order to protect vulnerable and at-risk individuals, including youth.

“In the private world (people) involved in those groups (get criminal background checks). We should be no different. We are protecting ourselves…why not be pro-active instead of re-active,” he told council.

Coun. Claude McIntosh challenged the need to check every person, questioning whether someone on the goose control committee needs to have their criminal history reviewed.

“What’s good for one is good for everyone,” Murphy retorted.

Based on the proposed committee makeup right now there could be more than 70 members of the general public affected.

But Mayor Leslie O’Shaughnessy has suggested the number of committees will be pared down so not as many lay members will be needed.

A criminal background check costs roughly $30 per person and, under the proposal, the city would pick up the tab.

A report will be coming back to council when it meets for a second time on the water and sewer budget on Dec. 16.

The deadline (Dec. 5) has already passed for members of the general public to sign up for city committees.

If proposal gets a green light, there will be a rush to go back to all the people who submitted names to ask if they will agree to having their criminal history record examined.

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