Apparently the government does do some things better than at least part of the private sector.
Here in West Virginia, criminal background checks some employers use, along with the same type of investigation of people who want to adopt children, are an example.
Until August 2011, background checks were performed by the State Police. There sometimes were delays under that system - but not to the extent being reported now.
In August 2011, the state hired a private company to handle the work. Speeding up background checks, as well as freeing State Police for other duties, was the reason for making the change.
But it does not seem to have worked well, state legislators recently learned.
Some employers have had to wait three to four months for results of background checks, lawmakers have been told. There have been delays for people wishing to adopt children, too.
Some parents wishing to adopt have become frustrated with the delays and given up on the process, added Scott Boileau, executive director of the Alliance for Children.
Background checks are critical for some employers. State law requires them for anyone applying for a job working with children, the elderly or the mentally ill. Some employers just want to be careful.
A representative of the company contracted to handle the checks admitted to legislators, "We realize we screwed up." He added improvements are being made.
Let's hope so.
State officials have tolerated the company's bad performance for a year and a half. Even after complaints were heard, the contract was renewed.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and legislators should not allow that to continue. If the company has not cleaned up its act soon, another firm should be found to handle the background checks.