Friday, October 14, 2005

Background & Credit

The Blade's legitimate requests for background checks and credit reports Tuesday night caught me off guard. My response was clumsy, not organized. I had privacy issues to think through, and emotions to get in check about disclosing personal financial information to the world.

You have to be a public official or candidate to truly appreciate the contours of this experience. Perception is so easily taken for reality. Your willingness to engage is a reflection of your commitment to service. How do you delineate privacy as a public official? You know you want to do the right thing. I decided to show my cards.


Blogger !@#$%^& said...

You did what you felt you had to do, the important thing is, you did it on your terms not theirs.

10:26 AM  
Blogger liberal_dem said...

The question I have is: Will the Blade follow up on Sobczak, McCloskey, B. Schultz, Sarantou, and D. Schulz who all refused the credit check?

11:14 AM  
Blogger Frank said...

I@#$%^& - The editors and reporters worked with me, which I appreciate.

11:20 AM  
Blogger RJ said...

This credit/background checking has made a voyeur out of many of us. Frank and the rest are reduced to contestants on a reality show, and the voters just want a glimpse inside the private lives of our public officials. Most are not likely to be swayed by the findings, and the Blade will go easy on the candidates they like anyway.
The Paper wants a "scoop", and this is an good way to cultivate one. The shame is that many otherwise-qualified individuals are not likely to seek office when they know there will be a microscope up their behinds.

11:33 AM  
Blogger billy said...

First L_dem says "Seems to me that the Blade has no business requesting nor authorizing a credit check on a City Council candidate or member. Would YOU give your SS# and authorize 'someone' to look into your credit? I doubt it."

Then he says:
"The question I have is: Will the Blade follow up on Sobczak, McCloskey, B. Schultz, Sarantou, and D. Schulz who all refused the credit check"

so the Blade has no business requesting this, but you want them to follow up on the folks who took the same stance you did and refused to comply??

1:57 PM  
Blogger asdfghjkl said...

Frank is out of touch with reality

3:25 PM  
Blogger Lisa Renee said...

I can understand why anyone would refuse. It is not the Blade's place to do a background check on anyone, exept their own employees if they so choose. If it were a requirement of the City for candidates for public office then it should be done within the system as it is done now.

Personally Frank, while I understand the reason to cooperate because if you don't then they try to make it look as if you had something to hide, I would have refused.

If they want this done? Then they should work within the system to make this a requirement so that private information like an SS number is not handed out to the media.

4:05 PM  
Blogger billy said...

Credit checks should not be done, and the candidates should not supply the blade with that info

One thing I find bothersome is on another post on this forum someone said that all city employees have to have a credit check before they are hired?

I dont know if that's even legal.
Criminal background checks are, but I dont think so for credit checks.

does anyone know for sure if this is indeed the practice?

4:20 PM  
Blogger Frank said...

background checks are required by new city employees, per an '02 ordinance inspired by a then city employee who had minors staying overnight when his house caught fire. Credit checks are not required of city employees.

4:27 PM  
Blogger billy said...

LOL! I remember that case, man, he had ALL kinds of excuses for his behavior - as I recall, da judge wasnt buyin any of it

4:52 PM  
Blogger historymike said...

To the Frank-haters:

Would YOU trust the Blade with your Social Security number?

I sure wouldn't.

6:14 PM  
Blogger Lisa Renee said...

I sure would not trust any media source with that type of private information. Nor, should anyone feel like they have to surrender their own right to privacy to a newspaper just because they are running for office.

I would have liked to see all of the candidates en-masse refuse. That would have eliminated what will happen next, the innuendo about those who "refused".

7:44 PM  
Blogger BrianInVero said...

I must say I do appreciate each of your's candor, but I must add my two cents.

In light of somewhat recent allegations of campaign fraud, it IS in the best interest of voters to know who they are electing to such a powerful position.

You can thank Bob McCloskey and Jack Ford for my thoughts on this, for it is those two that inspired me to make my comments about allowing credit checks on another thread.

To assume that the public is drooling over themselves to know what the candidates credit reports are isn't fair. One's perception of an event may not be the reason it occured. But to get ALL players on a level playing field under glass and lights will weed out the frauds and scam artists, hence Bob McCloskey denying access to his credit report. Explains his being under indictment.

If Americans are going to relinquish their freedoms and privacy for the good of America(Patriot Act), I suggest We The People expect the people we elect into power fall under the same guidelines.

By the way, my credit rating is 601.

5:53 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

The issue here is that The Blade did not clearly identify why they wanted this private financial information. They did not indicate a clear chain of custody assuring protection of this information. Unprofessional journalism, and risky business for anyone giving out that information.

Secondly, this information (a credit check) is not only about the candidate, it includes private information about their families or friends, and this does not seem like a fair request to me. Why should my wife's information be published in The Blade because I am a candidate for something. We own a house, cars, etc., together with credit. Her information would be as public as mine. I would not subject my family to such an intrusive and risky request even with the good credit I have.

Frank, its brave of you to address this with such candor, nice to see the human side to a public official. I think a lot of people would have been, or should have been, “caught off guard” as you said given the way this request was made. Better to err on the side of caution then a reckless distribution of very private and information that identify thieves would LOVE to get their hands on. My understanding is that concerns about privacy were Bob Vasquez’s reason for not initially being willing to give out his full report. He eventually did with assurances that his account numbers would not be made public, but this was AFTER they raked you guys over the coals on the front page. Sounds like The Blade was not very clear to the candidates and elected officials about what they were going to do with your credit reports and then got all cried about it when cautious people (who I’d prefer to see in office) said no or that they wanted to think about it first.

Sounds like they did not even give you one day to respond. Why the rush to publication when they could have waited a day to clarify thier requests. Sensationalism?

FYI, The Blade has also recently asked some candidates for copies of their last few 1040 Federal income tax returns... anyone want to comment on that? Anyone careless enough to hand that information over without assurances of safeguards?


8:09 AM  
Blogger liberal_dem said...

yesterday I posted this: The question I have is: Will the Blade follow up on Sobczak, McCloskey, B. Schultz, Sarantou, and D. Schulz who all refused the credit check?

Today the Blade did just that. Perhaps my email to the reporter helped things along as well.

Now then, the new question is: What was that all about anyway? I suspect that it was all about selling more newspapers.

8:15 AM  
Blogger BrianInVero said...

Now the voters are afforded an opprotunity to cast their vote with someone that can show they can excersize fiscal responsibility and a conscience-driven tool on a level playing field for all the candidates.

Altho I stand agog at Jack's rating. YOU should have been Treasurer.

6:55 PM  
Blogger -Sepp said...

I think you should have stuck to your guns Frank. Screw the blade! I applaud the folks that told JRB to pound sand on this issue because yes, some things are private and NOT for public consumption. When the blade decides that publishing data about a candidates anatomy is pertinate to getting the streets paved or attracting business' to the area will it then be ok to just violate your principles, roll over and submit to their BS? When is enough...enough and, how far is too far?

9:23 PM  
Blogger Frank said...

Havent heard from you in a while Sepp.

12:05 AM  

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