York City Council adopted a new hiring policy Wednesday. The goal is to give people who have served their time an equal opportunity to get jobs.
“I think the pros vastly outweigh the cons,” said York resident Franklin Williams. “We throw people’s lives away, or we pay a tremendously high cost for incarcerating them, or for refusing to let them return to a constructive, productive life.”
“It gets rid of what’s called the box,” council president Henry Nixon said.
The box is listed on job applications that is checked if a person has been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor.
“In the early stages, it won’t be a factor,” Councilor Mike Buckingham said.
While city officials say York hasn’t had the box on applications in a couple of years, Nixon tells us it was time to make the practice official.
“This is to avoid the first glance where a possible employer just throws away the application,” said Nixon.
“To give everybody a fair chance,” said Buckingham.
Nixon says some positions, like seasonal jobs in landscaping, don’t require background checks.
“A good example would be somebody that was caught with a small amount of marijuana in college,” he said. “Yes, they do have a record. That does not necessarily preclude someone from almost any position in city government.”
Other jobs, like those involving security, would still involve background checks. The council president says it will be up to human resources to decide which criminal histories can affect which jobs.
“If you work in the finance department and you have embezzled money, then obviously we’re going to find that out,” Nixon said.
While the policy only applies to city jobs, the council says it encourages all businesses in York to ban the box, too.
The mayor still has to sign the ordinance. If he does, it would go into effect in 20 days.