The April 5 article Lawsuit: State hired lawyer with criminal history, was inaccurate. Donald Bell wasn’t allowed to “skip background screenings” when hired at the Department of Elder Affairs.
In accordance with Florida statutes and department policy, a Level II background screening was conducted on Jan. 6. Because of his position in executive management at the department, a second more extensive background investigation began on Jan.13. It is common practice for employees to begin work while background results are still pending.
During the hiring process, Bell was forthcoming to department leadership about his history. With his pardon, the offenses in his record don’t prohibit him from employment.
Ashley Marshall, communications director, Department of Elder Affairs, Tallahassee