Try digitalPLUS for 10 days for only $0.99

Readers Respond

News Opinion Readers Respond

City should not micro-manage hiring [Letter]

Getting ex-offenders back into successful employment is an important challenge for our city, but the "ban the box" proposal makes a better slogan than solution ("Ban the box in Baltimore," Jan. 8).

Members of the Baltimore City Council want to stop private employers from asking "have you been convicted of a crime" on employment applications. Instead, a councilman argues, employers should grant interviews and only after offering a job, conduct background checks to determine if a former thief should work in a bank or an ex-dealer drive the bus. Being somewhat removed from the private sector, the councilman may not be aware that interviews and job training actually cost money.

Michael Pinard, director of the clinical law program at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, argues in his commentary that "many employers look no further than the box, if it is checked 'yes,' the application goes into the trash." Often true, except, obviously only to the extent they are able to attract qualified applicants without criminal backgrounds. Unlike what happens at the University of Maryland, where low admissions rates enhance standing, a position is usually advertised because it needs to be filled yesterday. Ideally, a "son/sister/neighbor or good kid who needs work" comes along and you take them on without wasting any time checking boxes because screening applications and conducting interviews is not actually how we make our living. (And that's how ex-cons usually get hired too — someone vouches for them.)

We've all done dumb things. Fortunately, most of us have been given second chances, but City Hall can't wave a wand and make the past disappear or argue seriously that decisions do not have consequences or that honesty and integrity do not matter in almost all things.

Given the disarray within city government — erroneous water bills, irregular tax bills, the speed camera fiasco, phone system feud and a money-losing hotel — I wish the Baltimore City Council would be more focused on getting its own house in order before it tries further micro-management of the private sector.

Mark Counselman, Baltimore

-
To respond to this letter, send an email to talkback@baltimoresun.com. Please include your name and contact information.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • 'Ban the Box' won't help [Letter]

    'Ban the Box' won't help [Letter]

    Baltimore's new "Ban the Box" law does little to address employment discrimination against ex-offenders. In fact, the moniker "Ban the Box" itself is an epic public relations blunder. Even supporters of the initiative are forced to admit that the legislation doesn't in fact "ban" anything but simply...

  • Baltimore helps end employment discrimination [Letter]

    Baltimore helps end employment discrimination [Letter]

    As job training practitioners and advocates for effective policies and practices for people returning from prison, we are pleased with the Baltimore City Council's decision to "Ban the Box." ("Council passes 'Ban the Box' legislation," April 28). The legislation expands current law by requiring...

  • Hold 'ban the box' advocates responsible [Letter]

    Hold 'ban the box' advocates responsible [Letter]

    I wonder if Baltimore City Council members who supported the "ban the box" law forcing private employers not to ask about a person's criminal past would be so vocal about this law if those same lawmakers were held legally responsible when a criminal is unknowingly hired and then commits another...

  • 'Ban the box' will give Baltimore a boost [Letter]

    'Ban the box' will give Baltimore a boost [Letter]

    As an advocate for returning citizens, I can truly say Monday was a great day for the city of Baltimore. For individuals to finally be judged by their merits, work experience and skill, gives individuals hope ("Council passes 'Ban the Box' legislation," April 29). The business community will benefit...

  • Mayor needs to get involved in 'ban the box' fight [Editorial]

    Mayor needs to get involved in 'ban the box' fight [Editorial]

    Our view: It's still not too late to address business' reasonable concerns with a measure designed to help ex-offenders

  • 'Ban the box' law is a modest first step [Letter]

    We're pleased that Baltimore City Councilman Nick Mosby's measure to address the employment discrimination faced by ex-offenders is moving toward a final vote later this month ("'Ban the box' bill advances over opposition from businesses," April 7).

  • Ban the box in Baltimore [Commentary]

    Ban the box in Baltimore [Commentary]

    Allowing people to delay disclosure of criminal records gives them a chance to make a case for employment

  • 'Ban the box' is needed [Letter]

    We appreciate Dan Rodricks' long history of supporting employment opportunities for Maryland's released prison inmates returning to society and we applaud his efforts to articulate the importance of those opportunities for successful reentry and reducing recidivism ("'Honesty in hiring' beats 'ban...

Comments
Loading

81°