City audit finds Tampa Parks Department is not properly screening many employees and volunteers

Some employees may have never been screened

TAMPA - The Tampa Parks and Recreation is not doing background checks on many of its employees and volunteers, even though it is required by city code, according to an audit released by the city.

The city code requires parks and recreation employees, who come into contact with children, to receive a background screening before they are hired and be re-screened every year.

The internal city audit found 18% of full-time employees sampled were not properly screened. Forty-three percent of seasonal employees sampled were not properly screened. More than 57% of volunteers who work with children were not properly screened.

The audit further speculated, "it is possible some very long-term employees have never received a background screening."

Tampa Mayor-elect Bob Buckhorn was not happy to learn of the screening problems. "These are our kids. Our employees need to be screened," said Buckhorn. "We need to do a much better job of it."

Parent Andrea Baretto was a bit more harsh. "I feel disgusted," said Baretto. "This is dangerous for our children."

Tampa Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Linda Carlo said, "We had a problem with our volunteers and we are correcting it."

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