January 15, 2012 in News

Kennewick council to vote on E-Verify use

By Michelle Dupler The Tri-City Herald

KENNEWICK — The Kennewick City Council on Tuesday will vote on whether to adopt E-Verify as a condition for employment and for contractors who want to do work for the city.

Council members heard a presentation in August on the electronic system that verifies whether potential new hires are eligible to work in the United States.

They were told by City Attorney Lisa Beaton that the system could save money on doing background checks for new hires.

“It’s a tool that can help employers comply with the law that is already on the books,” Beaton said at the August meeting.

E-Verify participants fill out a form, which is checked through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. The program is voluntary and is for confirming employment authorization, not a test for citizenship.

Public entities using E-Verify cannot use it to screen applicants for a job, nor can it be used for current employees. It is available only to check a newly hired person’s employment eligibility after being selected for a position.

The same rules apply for a city-retained contractor who is required to use E-Verify.

The council Tuesday will consider a resolution adopting an E-Verify policy for the city that requires use of the program to verify the employment eligibility of new city hires, and that requires contractors or vendors working with the city to participate in E-Verify.

The policy allows the city manager to make case-by-case exceptions with council approval, and exempts several types of professional service providers such as architects, bankers, lawyers, and vendors providing commercial, off-the-shelf products.

Use of E-Verify is free for employers, and the staff report for Tuesday’s council meeting says the policy would have no fiscal impact to the city.

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