PHASING UP [news]

Hamilton County Commissioners Vote Unanimously to Reform Ex-Offender Hiring Practices

 

 

Sept 2009
From: Stephen JohnsonGrove [sjohnsongrove@ohiojpc.org]
Sent: Thursday, September 10, 2009 2:27 PM

On September 9th, the Hamilton County Board of County Commissioners unanimously adopted a Resolution, drafted with the assistance of the Ohio Justice & Policy Center, demonstrating county leadership in the area of providing employment opportunities for people with criminal records who have paid their debt to society.

The Resolution states that “it is the policy of Hamilton County that individuals who have paid their debt to society and who are rehabilitated should be afforded every opportunity to become assimilated back into the community as responsible and productive members of society.”

Yesterday’s vote by the Hamilton County Commissioners is a victory for rehabilitated people with old criminal records.  The Ohio Justice & Policy Center (OJPC) has been championing this issue for over a year, calling for an end to the City of Cincinnati’s ban on hiring ex-offenders.  The issue centers on Gene Mays, a man who was denied employment with the Metropolitan Sewer District based solely on a 15 year old drug felony, despite having stellar qualifications as an electrician. OJPC has represented Mr. Mays throughout the administrative and court proceedings in his case; an appeal is currently pending before the Ohio Supreme Court.

The Hamilton County Board of County Commissioners specifically requests the Cincinnati Civil Service Commission to narrowly construe the existing Civil Service Rules related to job applicants and employees with criminal records who work with the Metropolitan Sewer District.  The Board also urges the Civil Service Commission to continue its efforts to reform its hiring policies as theyrelate to the Metropolitan Sewer District.

“The Hamilton County Commissioners showed some true leadership today,” said attorney Stephen JohnsonGrove, who helped draft the resolution, “Not only should the City of Cincinnati take notice of this, but other cities and counties across Ohio would do well to allow rehabilitated people with old criminal records to more fully contribute to their local economies.  Responsibly allowing people with criminal records into the workforce would be a financial and public safety boon for the whole community.”

The Resolution adopted by the Hamilton County Commissioners adds to the pressure that continues to mount on Cincinnati’s Civil Service Commission, the governing body that will ultimately have the last say on changing the city’s overall hiring practices. The Rules Committee of Cincinnati City Council is already considering a similar resolution to change of the city’s hiring policy.

 

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