This week's issue of WW includes a story about Daniel Lee Martin, a 16-year veteran TriMet driver and current executive board member for the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 757.
Martin (who's currently running for the local's vice presidency) has a criminal past: Thirty years ago, he pleaded guilty in Tillamook County to second-degree sex abuse, a misdemeanor, after admitting to having sex with a minor; and in 2006 he pleaded guilty to illegally receiving $78,000 in Social Security disability payments for three years while employed at TriMet.
The story raised questions about how much the agency knew about Martin’s past.
Martin told WW that TriMet knew about his record. TriMet officials said the agency couldn't comment on Martin's record but was investigating. The agency also said that, at the time Martin was hired, TriMet had not yet begun doing routine background checks on new employees.
Today, TriMet spokeswoman Roberta Altstadt told WW that TriMet needs to correct the record. She said the agency did perform background checks when Martin was hired in 1998.
Here's what she told us in an email today:
Martin remains employed at TriMet and in the running for the ATU's vice presidency. One of Martin’s opponents, Chris Day, says the reaction among union members has been mixed."I do need to correct information provided previously. Initially I was told that TriMet began criminal background checks on employees around 1999/2000 following TriMet Board of Directors' approval of the procedure. Late last week, as part of our internal investigation, it was determined that we did some form of background check prior to that and in fact documentation shows one was conducted on Martin. As you can likely imagine, background checks back in 1989 were less robust than they are now."
“He has some strong supporters and stuff that are saying that’s his past, blah blah,” Day told WW. “You have others that are concerned.”
Last week, Martin told WW he felt vindicated by the support he’s received from other union members after the story ran.
“People understand that a person can fuck up 30 years ago and learn from it and still be a productive member of society,” Martin said. “I’m still planning on winning the election. Whether or not I have a job will be the kicker.”