Why we love HR

This municipal IT department hears from a volunteer who wants to spruce up his resume with some experience in a larger help-desk environment than he's worked in the past, reports a pilot fish on the scene.

"We call his references and he checks out, so IT sets him up and we ask HR for a badge and key code so he can get through doors at the site," fish says.

"But HR says he will have to be Live Scanned first. That means being electronically fingerprinted, with the prints sent to the Justice Department to determine if he has a criminal record and, if he does, for what."

But he's a volunteer, not an employee, fish tells the HR rep.

HR: "He's coming on site and it's HR policy that all people coming on site have to clear Live Scan, and can't start until they do."

Fish: That's not true. For 20 years we've set up accounts for volunteers, contractors, and interns in every city department without requiring Live Scan. We've actually complained that HR doesn't know who's onsite or manage them.

HR: "Uh, it's a new policy that we are now enforcing."

Fish: Since when? I didn't see any announcement about this.

HR: "We haven't told anyone yet."

Fish: So you're enforcing a secret policy that no one knows about?

But in the end, the volunteer has to wait and be Live Scanned. At least this new policy means we won't get any known criminals on site, fish figures.

Fast forward almost four years, to a big meeting that includes the City Clerk, HR director, CIO, and tech and clerk staff. The topic: setting up a standard process so members of city commissions, committees and boards can have city email accounts.

IT manager: The process should start in HR before it comes to IT. That way we'll know the information is accurate and they've passed Live Scan before we set up their accounts.

HR director: "We don't Live Scan members of city commissions, committees and boards."

IT manager: Huh? It's HR policy to Live Scan everyone before they can come onsite. We've been told not to set anyone up unless they have completed Live Scan -- it's "HR policy."

HR director: "We've never done that with any members of commissions or committees or boards, but maybe we should have that discussion with the City Manager."

Sighs fish, "From there ensued a quick discussion of all the scenarios of disaster if someone were placed in a position of trust who had a history of violence or criminal behavior.

"The HR director and City Clerk finally decided they'd 'have a discussion with the City Manager on how we bring this forward.'"

You don't need a background check to tell Sharky your story. So send me your true tale of IT life at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll snag a snazzy Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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