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West Deptford Background Checks May Expand

More adults who work with children could be covered under the background check rules, but committee tabled the matter for now.

With scandals such as the Penn State sex abuse case not far in the rearview mirror, the township committee is working to draft a tighter version of an ordinance for mandatory background checks of recreation employees and volunteers.

The first reading of the ordinance was tabled Thursday night after Committeewoman Denice DiCarlo expressed several concerns dealing with the lack clarity of the ordinance.

Of DiCarlo’s main concerns, was how the ordinance failed to clearly outline the procedure for handling personal information. DiCarlo feels that all information pertaining to background checks should be handled strictly by the police department—for the sake of confidentiality and to avoid potential conflicts of interest.

“I think we are all in agreement that it should go through the chief of police”, says DiCarlo.

When the ordinance is approved, the township will receive reimbursement for all accrued fees through the Check Em’ Out program. Check 'Em Out program is sponsored by the Megan Nicole Kanka Foundation, the same foundation responsible for pushing through Megan’s Law in 1996. Through the program, the foundation will reimburse the township for all mandated fingerprinting and background checks for youth organizations.

Fingerprints will run through New Jersey State Police and FBI databases for prior convictions.   

Another major concern of DiCarlo’s was the draft’s focus on mainly youth sport coaches. The recreation committee has already determined that other employees—such as those with Little Theater or the Miss West Deptford Scholarship Pageant—fall under the program's umbrella of reimbursement.

Mayor Chintall has also discussed including RiverWinds employees and township employees into the policy. Chintall said he has always supported mandating background checks, and began pushing for mandatory background checks in 2002, urging former Committeeman John Cobb to intiate background checks on volunteers.   

At the Budget Subcommittee on Recreation in March, Chintall suggested the background checks could be funded by the rec fee. While he was aware of the Check Em' Out program, he was concerned funding through their program would be limited. 

“I think this is a great opportunity to ensure that the children of our community are protected,” said Chintall, Thursday night.

Check 'Em Out was approved by the recreational board during its June meeting after DiCarlo proposed it.

The board also approved withholding organizations' allotments until all members have submitted to fingerprint checks.

In addition, DiCarlo says that the recreational committee will be able to police the sponsored organizations if a member is found to have previous convictions, by withholding the allotment until the person is removed from their position. DiCarlo says there will be an appeals process, to help create a system of checks and balances.

However, further discussion is needed on how to do the same for non-sponsored programs, since there is no allotment.

“We need to put timelines and guidelines on this,” says DiCarlo about the holes in the ordinance.

John Dunda—vice-chair of the recreation board—previously expressed support for this new program, especially in wake of the Penn State sex abuse scandal. He calls fingerprinting only a small inconvenience when it comes to ensuring children’s safety.

DiCarlo says that while recent events have definitely fueled this matter she says as a mother and a former board of education member, child safety has always been a prime concern for her.

“I think it’s staying with the notion of keeping our children safe,” says DiCarlo, “If this saves one child from abuse then I think it’s worth it.”    

Editor's note: This article has been modified from the original to clarify statements from Mayor Chintall.

Michael Nesbitt September 22, 2012 at 12:19 PM
Thank you Denise for making this possible!
redneckwillie3 September 22, 2012 at 07:16 PM
does this include foul langugae dicarlo?
concerned republican September 25, 2012 at 03:38 PM
I am very concerned with the direction Cianfarini and Chitall are taking this township. I think all board members should have background checks so we dont have these shady characters on our boards.
WDNeedsHelp September 25, 2012 at 05:47 PM
Denice, it appears, followed on the coat-tails of the Mayor. He fought for this in 2002 as a concerned citizen. I fear that Denice is simply trying to garner support for a political campaign and is using our kids as the excuse, I find this very troubling behavior for an elected official. Why did she not make this an issue when she was on the school board? Did she not feel the need to protect the kids when she was specifically in charge of their well being? Leaves many questions as to her motives.
Extremely Concerned Republican September 25, 2012 at 06:37 PM
From what I can decipher Sam Cianfarini is trying to block the background checks because some of his friends and acquaintences may be barred from serving on the boards. Ladies and gentlemen, folks, I find this very troubling behavior for an elected official.
redneckwillie3 September 25, 2012 at 06:52 PM
THE NOOSE IS GETTING TIGHTER FOR THE DEMS. denise di(fraud)carlo is hammering for she knows her political carreer is coming to an end in Nov. G White there will be no one to select this year finally an all republican majority. AND THE HITS JUST KEEP ON COMING.
WDNeedsHelp September 26, 2012 at 07:33 PM
Please name said appointments?
John Hostettler September 27, 2012 at 12:50 PM
very good article..... http://www.wdrealtruth.org/chintall-and-cianfarini-reinvent-the-wheel-again/
WDNeedsHelp September 27, 2012 at 07:16 PM
"Imitation is the greatest form of flattery" You will want to visit http://www.wdtruth.org for the REAL and DOCUMENTED TRUTH !!!! Not a bunch of made up Democrap Lies.
Butch Burgundy September 27, 2012 at 08:32 PM
At 3:35 this afternoon I witness committeeeman Cianfarini driving by the WAWA on Crown Point road in his black truck while talking on his cell phone. I am going to report this to the fraud and abuse hotline and see what happens. This man has no regard for the law and thinks he is above the law. This is clearly an abuse of power. WD Police should issue him a ticket
WDNeedsHelp October 01, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Glad to see you are a trained police officer and can spot things like that. Or was he combing his hair? Maybe he was eating a sandwich? But thankfully we have citizens like you who can spot crimes like that. In fact where were you when they were fleecing the water department? Did you call anyone when you noticed the $4.5 million missing at the golf course? Oh, you missed those didn't you. Pathetic.
My Town Too October 02, 2012 at 01:55 AM
Butch- It may have been Angelini you saw. He is always on his phone while driving. Probably calling his lawyer. But in the meanwhile, yes! Please call WD Police to issue him a ticket- since "Butch Burgandy" saw it, it must've happened!

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