Municipal League Partners with CandidateVerification
Raising the Bar on Ratings
At the beginning of July, the Municipal League of King County released our ratings for candidates running for local elected office in an attempt to answer the central question facing voters: How well might a candidate do the job? Our process is similar to a job interview – with a diverse group of citizens serving as the hiring managers. The result has been called a “Better Business Bureau” for voters.
To ensure the Municipal League’s non-partisan ratings provide the most accurate information for local voters, we partnered this year with the non-profit CandidateVerification to add background checks to our candidate evaluation process.
Candidates from across the county were invited to undergo a background check, at no cost to them, and share the results with the Municipal League. Half of the candidates who were invited to participate agreed and were willing to share their information with us. We look forward to having even more candidates participate in this process in years to come.
Every election cycle, a few candidates try to hide or embellish part of their background. Rather than simply waiting for the next ‘October Surprise’, the Municipal League believes it is up to the citizen hiring managers and other endorsement groups to improve the process. Unless we adopt the best practices of the private sector and use them in elections, we are part of the problem.
Like the general population, politicians are prone to resume inflation and omission: According to recent study conducted by Accu-Screen, Inc., ADP, and The Society of Human Resource Managers, 78% of resumes are misleading, 53% of resumes and job applications contain falsifications, and 21% of resumes state fraudulent degrees on their resume. That is why some 80% of employers require a background check as part of their hiring process.
The CandidateVerification process uses the same platform adopted by governments and corporations hiring new employees. They check 10 years’ worth of federal and county criminal and civil records on each candidate, plus the national sex-offender registry, as well as verify employment, degrees, and professional credentials.
On the heels of a successful pilot project in 2013, next year the Municipal League plans to make CandidateVerification’s background checks a formal part of our program, and to make these background checks available for all candidates we evaluate. Washington State has a rich history of raising the bar on public disclosure in local government. The Municipal League believes that we should expect the same level of transparency from the people who are seeking public office and we are pleased to provide this important information to King County voters.
For more information, visit CandidateVerification’s website at www.candidateverification.org.