No Background Check for Government Aide in Omaha

Within the past week, as Mayor-elect Jim Suttle prepares to enter the mayoral office in Omaha, Nebraska, some conflicts regarding one of his aides, Matthew Samp, have surfaced, and many of the issues swim around conducting a background check, which Suttle never did on Samp. Samp, according to a news piece published June 1 in the Omaha World-Herald, is being accused of having a sexual relationship with an underage teen in the late 1990s. In Nebraska, an “underage teen” is someone under the age of 16.

As stated in the article, a police report was filed against Samp by the underage teen, Brad Fuglei, and his father in 2001 but Fuglei committed suicide a week later, stalling investigation into the report as Omaha police looked into the death. Samp, who is now Suttle’s co-chief, had been employed for him since 2005 and was considered somewhat of a teen mentor in various Omaha communities. As Suttle has been preparing to enter office, Nebraska Gen. Attorney Jon Bruning does not want Suttle to keep Samp in his position.

At this point, the statements made against Samp are allegations – Samp was never arrested and charged with a crime. Although Suttle never ran a background check on Samp, or any of his other employees for that matter, this police report from 2001 may or may not show up because it was stalled more than seven years before. However, in the case of Samp’s background, a background check might bring up other information from his past – sexual activity with a minor or not – that could be questionable in being a state government employee. Regardless of this particular charge or previous charges, Suttle has the responsibility of running a basic background check on all employees to check for undisputable information, such as education, past employment, and driving and criminal records, particularly if that person will be working with the community. Although Samp has worked for Suttle before, promoting him into a visible government position should require a background check to make sure he has a clean record and is suitable enough to work with adults and youths in Omaha.