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Mayor Vince Gray‘s office announced late Wednesday evening that each of his administration’s political hires, known as excepted service employees, will undergo a “more stringent personnel review and background check.”

The move comes after a series of stories on individual political hires who have questionable, and sometimes criminal, backgrounds. The most recent story was just published by LL this afternoon, detailing how the Gray administration’s pick for the chief of staff position at the Department of Health Care Finance appears to have used physical force on his ex-wife.

“While a vetting process was implemented, it is clear that the approach was not thorough enough to address all relevant issues and questions for Excepted Service appointments,” Gray said in a statement released at 9:06 p.m. “Moving forward, I want to make sure that we check and double-check all current and future Excepted Service appointees by also engaging our own Metropolitan Police Department.”

Added Gray: “While it is hoped that candidates for jobs such as these would voluntarily reveal significant aspects of their history that could influence the decision to hire them, clearly that has not always occurred.”

Here’s the full statement:

(Washington, DC) Today Mayor Gray ordered a more stringent personnel review and background check of all Excepted Service appointees in his administration. This action is the result of his concern that the vetting process currently in place is not sufficient to identify all of the challenges that may be experienced by potential hires.

“While a vetting process was implemented, it is clear that the approach was not thorough enough to address all relevant issues and questions for Excepted Service appointments,” said Mayor Gray. “Moving forward, I want to make sure that we check and double-check all current and future Excepted Service appointees by also engaging our own Metropolitan Police Department.”

Mayor Gray’s cabinet level hires were vetted through an extensive transition background check that included personal, civil and criminal background checks. The checks consisted of credit history, criminal offenses, driving and traffic records, bankruptcies, property ownership, liens and judgments. It also covered education, legal, and business affiliations. These checks were performed by an outside entity and paid for by private donations.

Gray acknowledged that in moving quickly to fill positions below the top level, there was not the same degree of rigor as utilized with the cabinet posts. In certain cases, assumptions were made that because an individual had worked in the previous administration, or was currently employed in the government, background checks had been performed.

The more extensive effort ordered by the Mayor will include current appointees in the Excepted Service as well as future candidates. “While it is hoped that candidates for jobs such as these would voluntarily reveal significant aspects of their history that could influence the decision to hire them, clearly that has not always occurred,” said Mayor Gray.

The Mayor’s action is unprecedented. He will direct the Metropolitan Police Department to conduct criminal background checks consistent with prevailing law enforcement norms on each of the Mayor’s Excepted Service appointees.