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Dunn County Commission approves drug screening, background checks for new employees

MANNING -- All new employees hired by Dunn County will be subject to criminal background checks and pre-employment drug screens, a new policy that will also affect current employees who transfer departments or move into management roles.

The commission voted unanimously Wednesday for the change, effective immediately, at its meeting at the Dunn County Courthouse in Manning.

Prior to the policy, the county completed pre-employment drug screens only on new hires with the road and bridge department. But Denise Giffin, who handles human resources for Dunn and McKenzie counties, proposed to expand that to all new employees.

"That is something we implemented up in McKenzie County and it has helped us," she said. "It is a safety feature, as well as a way of ensuring that we are hiring quality employees."

Dunn County Auditor Tracey Dolezal asked if the policy would affect current employees who change departments and Giffin recommended the commissioners consider it, as well as background checks for employees who receive promotions into management positions.

"It's just another step we can take to ensure we have the right people in the right areas," she said.

The commission voted unanimously to have it added to the policy.

Background checks were instituted last summer in McKenzie County, Giffin said, and cost an average of $100, although a majority cost less. Cost is dependent on the number of addresses and last names that require checking.

While most have come back clean, Giffin said the checks can help discover things like applicants with suspended licenses.

"We're no longer the community where we know everybody and know their history from the time they were a little kid," she said.

McKenzie County uses AccuSource Inc. for completing background checks, and Giffin said Dunn County could piggyback through a subaccount she can access.

She said the timeframe to get background check results varies.

"The quickest I've had it come back is like 30 minutes, but that's likely for a student that has no background," she said. "And I have one that has been two weeks I'm waiting on because the state of Pennsylvania, where the driver's license is from, requires a signed affidavit by the employer original signature in their office."