North Miami / NMB

North Miami

After purchasing manager’s arrest, North Miami performing background checks of recent hires

North Miami plans to look more closely at new hires after the recent suspension of an employee following his arrest last month.

Acting Mayor Philippe Bien-Aime has recommended that the city manager conduct full background checks on all employees hired in the past two years.

The recommendation came days after MarcAnthony Tulloch, 32, the city’s purchasing manager, was suspended without pay following his July 24 arrest by Sunny Isles Beach police on charges of third-degree grand theft and official misconduct.

“I am troubled by the recent events that have transpired and insist that we take immediate action,” Bien-Aime said in the memo.

City Manager Aleem Ghany had begun to review personnel files for key positions before Bien-Aime sent his memo, according to city spokeswoman Pam Solomon, to ensure that both background and credit checks had been completed when necessary.

Ghany is also working on an internal review of all of the financial transactions made by the purchasing department while Tulloch was in charge.

“He is working on implementing an administrative policy that would require criminal background checks for all new hires, as well as credit checks for key positions,” Solomon said in an email.

North Miami hired Tulloch in January after he had been a purchasing agent and contract reviewer for Sunny Isles Beach. His annual salary was $79,400.

Sunny Isles Beach Police Chief Fred Maas said Tulloch was hired by that city in October 2010 and that the city had found no red flags or causes for concern.

“He came to us with a good recommendation and a good background,” Maas said.

Tulloch was arrested on a charge of battery in 2008, but the case was dismissed after Tulloch entered a deferred-prosecution program.

Maas and Luke Plesa, a detective with the Sunny Isles Beach Police Department, said the investigation began after Tulloch left the city and an employee noticed that there were certain items, like light bulbs and other office supplies, that the city was billed for but did not receive.

“They couldn’t get substantial answers, and something looked amiss,” Maas said.

The investigation continued from there and found other inconsistencies that led to the arrest. Plesa said the investigation was continuing.

“It seems like the issue in Sunny Isles has been resolved, but there is another arm that is being worked,” Plesa said.

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