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Youngstown adopts new hiring policy

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - The city of Youngstown has adopted a new hiring process that will push criminal background checks to the end of the hiring process.

We've seen it on job applications.  The box that asks if you have ever been convicted of committing a felony or misdemeanor.  For many Youngstown residents, who are trying to create a better life after jail time, that box keeps them from doing so.

"I have done everything I was supposed to do," said one woman who spoke in favor of the new hiring process. "I changed my thought process, conformed my behavior and reformed my way of survival. Yet, 20 years later, four degrees later I am denied employment to utilize my degrees."

Former municipal judge, Pat Kerrigan, who also served prison time for a federal crime, has had his share of job applications rejected.

"It doesn't mean that you can never consider whether a person has a felony or not. It just means that when they get the application you can look at it and say 'Oh Pat Kerrigan he has a PhD, he's got a law degree, he's got a masters degree. Maybe he can help me. Maybe he's got qualifications.' Instead of just saying 'Oh he's a felon' and throwing that (the job application) away," described Kerrigan.

Wednesday night, City council voted unanimously in favor of Mayor McNally's resolution to "ban the box" from city job applications.

Applicants will still be subjected to a background check and it will be up to the mayor to decide if they are suitable for employment with the city.

"Obviously the mayor is going to take certain offenses, offenses of violence, trust worthy convictions, you know embezzlement if you want to go work in the finances offices, those types of things into consideration," said McNally. "But smaller level issues, if someone wants to be a laborer in the Street Department, the mayor is going to consider whether or not that is a disqualifying factor."

By approving the resolution, Youngstown joins Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and many other cities across Ohio and the country that are "banning the box."

 

 

 

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