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Youngstown council removes conviction question from applications

Published: Thu, March 20, 2014 @ 12:10 a.m.




Question regarding criminal convictions will be removed from city employment form

By David Skolnick



Akim Lattermore, released from state prison in 1995 after serving five years, says she’s spent the time after her release struggling to find steady employment.

Convicted of aggravated robbery and receiving stolen property, Lattermore, of Youngstown, said she’s been able to find only part-time and seasonal work since getting out of prison.

She was among three ex-convicts who spoke to city council at Wednesday’s meeting, urging its members to approve a resolution on a policy that removes questions about criminal convictions from city employment applications.

“This means perhaps someone won’t be judged for making a mistake,” Lattermore said.

Mayor John A. McNally, who sponsored the resolution, said his administration would move quickly to remove the question and replace it with a statement describing when criminal checks would be conducted.

Before hiring, the city would require that person to pay the $50 for a criminal background check from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the FBI, he said. If a person has a criminal record, McNally would make the final decision on hiring.

It will be handled on a case-by-case basis, but he said there are some positions, such as police officers, that those with criminal records cannot be considered for.

Removing the question — an initiative spearheaded by the Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative — “gives you a fair chance” of being hired by the city, McNally said.

At the request of the MVOC, Lattermore, along with the two other ex-convicts spoke before council’s vote on the resolution. Council voted 7-0 in favor of the resolution.

The two others who spoke Wednesday were Gregory Solomon Jr., convicted of a felony 11 years ago, who said his record has been expunged, and former Youngstown Municipal Court Judge Patrick V. Kerrigan.

Kerrigan served 13 months in a federal prison for three counts of affecting interstate commerce by extortion by participating in a Florida patient-brokering scheme that included six others, who all pleaded guilty.

“There are far too many people who don’t have a job,” said Kerrigan, who added this new policy will give “an opportunity” to those who’ve served their time in prison and want to become productive citizens.

“Just because you made one mistake, it doesn’t define you,” added Solomon.

Also Wednesday, Finance Director David Bozanich said copies of the city’s proposed 2014 budget would be in the hands of council members no later than today.

Some members expressed frustration Tuesday about not having a budget yet when council must vote to approve it by March 31.

Council is expected to take action on the budget sometime next week, though a meeting hadn’t been scheduled as of Wednesday.

Council also voted Wednesday to permit the board of control to give a $500,000 water and wastewater grant toward the renovation of the downtown Wick Building.

The vacant structure is being turned into a 52-unit rental and extended-stay facility.

Dominic Marchionda, managing member of the NYO Property Group, which owns the building, says the project would be finished either at the end of this year or in the first quarter of 2015.

Council agreed last month to loan $2.59 million, with a 3 percent interest rate, to NYO for this project, with the city getting paid about 18 months after the money is borrowed.


1viatheright1(1 comment)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

I was just talking to someone about this topic the other week and being very conservative my opinion would shock some people. That's because, among a few reasons, I feel that since police and courts have mostly become revenue collectors many ex offenders are forced into a continued life cycle of crime because of a lack of opportunity and to provide job security for those involved in the legal profession.
I believe after 7-10 years once a person is released from prison or released from probation if no time served that crime should be removed from their record with the exceptions of murder, rape and crimes against children.
It's already tough enough for people to find jobs in this Obama economy especially tougher for those who actually voted for Obama who are too blind to see his policies are a detriment to job creation and The economy is crawling along in spite of Obama and his policies.

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2michael1757(457 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

I'm sure many people read where they can ask in an interview,if you've been arrested,but they can't ask about the outcome.With that being said,I still think youngstowns a town where if you know someone,your gonna get hired.

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3michael1757(457 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

I'm sure many people read where they can ask in an interview,if you've been arrested,but they can't ask about the outcome.With that being said,I still think youngstowns a town where if you know someone,your gonna get hired.

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4handymandave(564 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Lattermore most likely voted this joke of a president in office. She as well as the rest of us are paying the price with a very slow job growth economy and is quite lucky to have found even part time seasonal work.Hard working honest people with college degrees and experience can't find jobs let alone a convicted felon.

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5thirtyninedollars(571 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

I believe it is unfair to make the applicant pay for the background check.
If an employer wants to hire someone, they need to pay for the expenses of hiring, not the employee. Basically saying you need to make this amount of money to apply here.

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6redvert(2212 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

If the applicant wants the job bad enough they will pay the fee. The idea of the background check is to protect the taxpayers who will be paying their salary.

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7redeye1(5421 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

This is nothing more then a liberturd's way to get more votes. I have to wonder if you have to let these people into your home if they come to your home to check something such as the water meter etc. Or if you can ask for a background check .first

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8John44(14 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Mayor McNally is correct to allow "All citizens" the right of getting a job. Comments of honest people need jobs is a joke. Have you seen the new salaries of the City of Youngstown? A fireman starting out gets paid less than a call center employee. Law abiding people feel that they need higher pay. The jobs that the city has been offering are next to minimum wage with a lot of responsibilities.
But of course it is ok for a convict to cut your lawn or plow your drive in the winter or work on your roof. So who is the two faced double talking person now? Who did favors for you to hire them people to work on your house?

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9Chessiedad(356 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Just remember the old adage, "a leopard rarely changes its spots". I'm growing tired of the idea that it's unfair to treat ex-felons like "ex-felons". If they wanted to retain their right to vote, not admit to their criminal backgrounds,etc., then here's a thought.....DON'T BE A FELON IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!. Unique idea, I know, but just sayin'.

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10papa1(711 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

first of all, for the morons who blame the lack of jobs on president obams remember this morons, Obama wanted to create the American jobs act which would have put one mllion people to work rebuilding our infrastructure and the repubs said no. they've said no to everything he has proposed. the affordable care act is ramping up and will be right up there with social security and medicare, programs to help the middle class and they despise him for it. so remember that morons. and finally, if there wasn't obviously such a large criminal element in Youngstown, not to mention those who can't pass a drug test, there would be no need for removing the question, are you a convicted felon? although it would benefit some judges, prosecutors, and politicians in the valley.

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11Roger_Thornhill(994 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

How long until Danny Thomas gets hired?

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12redeye1(5421 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

@papa Just look at the first OBAMMY stimiulis project money that was wasted on I 680 That road has more patches on it now the grandma's quilt. The GOP knew that the IDIOT in the White House would have just squander the monies to his union buddies and we would have gotten more shoddy work just like the first time. So for me personally I'm glad the GOP stopped him So who's the moron? YOU ARE, because you probably voted for OBAMMY twice.

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