A city council committee heard testimony yesterday on taking off of city employment applications a question about previous convictions. Committee members agreed that it would be a good idea.
Supporters call the plan “Ban the Box,” meaning the check box asking if the applicant has ever been convicted of a crime. They say “yes” answers prejudice prospective employers even before they have read the application. Background checks would still be allowed but later in the process. It would not change the way most city positions are supposed to be filled, but would set an example for private businesses.
The idea met resistance from Firefighters Local 42, but city Human Resources Director Gary O'Bannon believes that can be resolved.
“I can't imagine there being any issues that we couldn't work through,” says O’Bannon.
The joint committee advanced the Ban the Box measure for a vote next week with instructions to O'Bannon to look into resolving the conflict with the firefighters by then.