Arlington personnel officials may not have effectively screened an employee who was arrested last week and charged with murder, County Board member William T. Newman Jr. said yesterday.

Hanee Madyun, 42, an employee for several years at the county's water and sewage treatment plant, was arrested Friday in the slaying of Gregory Bigsby, 32, of South Shirlington Road, two days before Christmas.

Newman said the suspect's criminal history, which reports in the Journal newspapers said included an armed robbery, indicated the possibility of future violence and should have been weighed carefully before he was hired.

"If he really has been convicted of the things that were mentioned, then maybe the system did not work this time," said Newman, adding that he believed an individual convicted of a violent crime should rarely be hired by the county.

Board member Albert C. Eisenberg said the alleged crime had nothing to do with Madyun's job at the treatment plant, but added that the incident was unusual enough to warrant an investigation by the board into county hiring practices.

"Common sense tells you to ask what exactly was going on then {when Madyun was hired} and what is the process now," Eisenberg said. "Is there anything we ought to take a second look at? I'm not saying there is. In fact, my feeling is that there isn't."

County Manager Anton S. Gardner said that county job applicants are required to disclose criminal convictions and that the county conducts a criminal record check on applicants. Madyun's application was treated like any other, he said.

Officials in Fairfax County and Alexandria said their jurisdictions do only selective police checks of job applicants. Both said they employ people with criminal records and usually place them in jobs with limited public contact.

Newman and other county officials were quick to point out that applicants who have a criminal history are not automatically rejected by the county.

"After you have paid whatever debt society has ordered, if you have shown you have been willing and rehabilitated yourself, you should be given a chance," Newman said. "If local governments are not going to be willing to look at those individuals, it's going to be difficult to expect the private sector to give them consideration."

Gardner said the county is one of many that has developed programs to help convicts find jobs and reintegrate themselves into the general population. "We're in the business of helping people reform their lives," Gardner said.

Officials in neighboring Fairfax County and Alexandria agreed.

"When an employee has a conviction, we look at that in the context of the job and might very well employ them," said Paul Baldino, assistant director for personnel in Fairfax. "Obviously, for police officers, mental health workers, child protection jobs, we do a very rigorous records check."

Alexandria Deputy City Manager Henry Howard said local governments must help rather than hinder the rehabilitation process.

"If you will never give them a job if they have a conviction, then I don't think you're talking about rehabilitation," Howard said. "You're talking about changing their life forever."