HR Strange But True!
June 11, 2004

We all know that HR is never dull, but sometimes it can get downright strange...

Even HR directors need background checks

Before hiring Kimberli Weiland, officials of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, somehow failed to discover a few things about her past.

Like her disbarment for altering her law school transcripts. Like tangles with the law that would lead--around the time of her hiring or shortly thereafter--to Indiana authorities issuing a warrant for her arrest on a shoplifting charge and Ohio authorities accusing her of obstructing police.

But a local newspaper, the Times Leader, had little trouble unearthing that information and duly reported it. That forced embarassed officials to suspend and then fire Weiland--as the county's human resources director.

Oh, irony of ironies.

County Commissioner Todd Vonderheid explained that a screening committee--assembled by him--did conduct a background check on Weiland. That included a criminal-records check in five states, including Indiana and Ohio.

It occurred around mid-February, but Weiland wasn't charged with obstruction until March 1, Vonderheid said. And while she had charged with shoplifting on Jan. 22, the charge didn't show up in the check because a hearing hadn't been held yet, he said.

Vonderheid told the Times Leader that screeners didn't learn of her disbarment in South Carolina because "we didn't know she practiced law there." But the newspaper reported that it simply entered Weiland's other name, Kimberli Aboyade, in three major Internet search engines and found records of the action instantly. County officials were aware of the other name.

Vonderheid refused to name the members of his screening committee, describing them as local professionals who volunteered their services with good intentions. He said it would be unfair to expose them to public scrutiny and criticism.

"It's clear they followed a professional process," he said. "If someone wants to lie and lies well enough, they can get away with it."

Source: The Times-Leader of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania

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