The council updated a town ordinance so it can run criminal background checks on volunteers and contract employees at an emergency meeting last week.
The town has run background checks on employees for years, but an audit in September found current town code does not include language regarding volunteers and contract employees.
“It is believed to be in the best interest of the Town of Payson to inquire into the past criminal conduct of adult employees, volunteers and, when applicable, contract employees of the Town of Payson,” wrote Lynne ODonnell, human resource manager in a town memo.
An Arizona Department of Public Safety compliance specialist conducting the audit in September told the town to cease processing volunteer fingerprints until the ordinance was updated.
That has held up who can coach fall sports. Soccer recently started and ODonnell said there are eight volunteer coaches who cannot coach without a staff member present as the town waits to get their fingerprint clearance cards.
“The Parks and Recreation Department relies heavily on volunteers to serve as coaches for a variety of programs,” she wrote. “Due to the ongoing and immediate need to process volunteer fingerprints, the updated ordinance is being proposed with an emergency clause.”
The emergency ordinance passed unanimously with two council members absent.