By AuxBeacon News Staff
[Editor’s Note: Multiple members and CAPTalk readers have asked that we circulate news regarding the plan to re-screen the CAP membership for felons whose records they have not worked to expunge. They’ve asked that we look into the details regarding ownership, complaints and class-action suits associated with Verified Volunteers and Sterling Infosystems, Inc. From just a cursory review, Mark Smith seems to be on a continuous downhill roll since the high-profile Kansas decision. He’s also asking the membership to go out and find clients for Civil Air Patrol, which we will cover in a separate story.]
Date: October 28th 2017 11:40 AM EST
AuxBeakers, attached please find direct links to statements issued by the CAP National Commander Mark Smith on rescreening of members and concerns regarding the chosen third party firm and member persec. In one follow up post, a CAPTalk reader expresses concerns that Verified Volunteers has partnered with or is owned by Sterling Infosystems which has complaints and class-action suits over illegal search, fraudulent billing and faulty reporting. The contributor there also mentions that Sterling closed an office in the United States and that CAP member personal information will be viewed and procesed by Sterling employees located in India. Is that true? What the hell? The idea for better background checks and removal of favored felons is an absolute MUST that you have been advocating, but a crappy shortcut offshore third party contractor seems to put CAP members at even greater risk, especially our pilots. CAPTalk’s Major Dave Bowles appears frustrated that wiser voices have deployed rays of sunshine into this dark area and the very last comment on this post as of Saturday morning does not give anyone a warm fuzzy.
Dear Valued CAP Member:
The industry best practice for nonprofit volunteer organizations, as well as most government agencies, is to conduct background rescreening every five years. As the U.S. Air Force’s newest Total Force partner, it is imperative that CAP always maintains the support, confidence and trust of our parent organization. To demonstrate due diligence and get CAP into the five-year rescreening cycle, we have contracted with Verified Volunteers, a highly respected company that regularly completes background screening for numerous volunteer organizations, including Big Brothers Big Sisters, Girl Scouts, and Pop Warner Football.
Initially, approximately 13,500 members screened prior to 2014 will be rescreened. These background checks will be conducted electronically; a fingerprint card and the normally required paperwork are NOT required. The rescreening process will begin in the next several weeks and will be completed in early 2018.
National Headquarters will use its currently-established process to review any information received. Members will, of course, have the opportunity to provide documentation or additional information before a final decision concerning membership eligibility is reached.
Please note that CAP Regulation 39-2, paragraph 188.8.131.52, requires all members to notify National Headquarters within 30 days of any changes on the membership application that may affect membership eligibility. Although we know this would be a very rare occurrence, an arrest after joining CAP that has not been reported to National Headquarters should be reported now, prior to the rescreening process. This could reduce the amount of time required to adjudicate any findings and help to ensure continuous participation in Civil Air Patrol.
Once these initial rescreenings are completed, all Civil Air Patrol senior members will be rescreened every five years, concurrent with their membership renewal date starting in 2019. Initial screening for new members will still be accomplished through the current screening process.
Thank you for your support as we make this important change to our membership screening process.
MARK E. SMITH
Major General, CAP
Sterling Infosystems does background checks and deals with confidential records containing Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, etc. They purchased Acxiom in February of 2012 and by April 2012 they were eliminating the majority of its work force in Ohio to send those positions to an office in Mumbai, India. Most clients are probably unaware that these background check services are now being done out of the country.
Verified Volunteers, based in Fort Collins CO, claims to be the only background check platform tailored to the specific needs of the service sector and the first online community mobilizing repeat, vetted volunteers. Verified Volunteers also claims to be “backed by SterlingBackcheck,” one of the world’s largest background screening companies. The Colorado Secretary of State shows that Verified Volunteers is merely a trade name registered to Sterling Infosystems, Inc. Katie Zwetzig is the Executive Director of Verified Volunteers, Christine Sbatella is Vice President of Product Management & Global Operation and Christina Brown is Vice President of Client Experience. A negative review of Verified Volunteers has appears on the Better Business Bureau site, but no complaints have been filed as of yet.
Verified Volunteers provides affordable background checks. Their service saves us from having to collect confidential information and allows volunteers to cover all or part of the cost of the check. Good luck calling customer service, however, even to set up your account or ask a simple billing question. We have never had a good experience. It has taken days to even get a yes or no answer. We believed the sales agent who told us that our experience when we set up our account was not typical but, now, we would not use the service if we had not already gone to a lot of trouble to get started. If you can find any other company that offers what you need, choose that one.
Sometimes the smiling front end sales people are nothing like the human staff or “system” that does the actual work of handling your data.