How could a town not do a background check before hiring an administrator?

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

This week, a Calabash town commissioner confirmed current town administrator Jeremy Cribb is being investigated by the town’s personnel committee. Tuesday night, the board of commissioners decided to extend his probationary period for 90 more days.

Even though the town’s personnel policy requires a background check of applicants, one was not done before Cribb was hired, and now questions about his experience and criminal record have surfaced.

Commissioner Cecelia Herman said the town’s personnel committee began to look into Cribb’s background after he was hired, further citing, “that’s one of the reasons we have a 90-day probation...”

Absolutely not.

A probation period is not the time to do a pre-employment background screening. Cribb’s position is funded by taxpayer dollars. He and all government employees should undergo a thorough investigation before being offered employment.

The town has a personnel policy that clearly states the town has a “duty” to “reasonably investigate an applicant’s background.” Why wasn’t this done? This is a tremendous oversight on behalf of the board of commissioners.

Another commissioner, Forrest King said he doesn’t think the board has done a background check on any of the employees it has hired. How could that happen? Failure to do background checks on employees is a big letdown to the people of Calabash and could potentially put the town at risk.

Herman confirmed the personnel committee has found discrepancies in Cribb’s employment information. Through investigation, The Brunswick Beacon further found an extensive list of criminal charges against Cribb—a list that spans several years with offenses in several counties.

It’s unfortunate this situation has gotten to where it is. The town’s personnel policy is there to ensure steps are taken in the community’s best interest. A thorough background check could have easily identified these things well before Cribb was given the job.

It’s clear that didn’t happen, and that’s unfair to the people of Calabash.

This week, Cribb acknowledged some of the charges in his past and said he wasn’t trying to hide anything. When pressed about the charges, Cribb said the board knows about his past and while he is ashamed of it, he has paid the price and now wants to start over in his new life.

We certainly understand people who have made mistakes should be given a fair chance to move on with their lives, however, if anything in Cribb’s employment process is deemed to have been done deceptively, it is in the town’s best interest to fire Cribb immediately.

Since it wasn’t properly done before he was hired, we are hopeful the extended probationary period is now being used to further evaluate Cribb’s background and experience. The number of charges against him should raise a red flag.

If Cribb is guilty of any wrongdoing on his part, especially being deceptive in his application process, we ask he does what’s best for the town of Calabash and resign from the position of town administrator immediately.