Tallahassee Reports has learned that in 2014 the City of Tallahassee selected 124 applicants for employment that had checked the box on the City employment application indicating they had a criminal background.
After background checks were completed and reviewed, 35 applicants were disqualfied and 89 were hired.
This means that during 2014, when 816 people were hired by the City of Tallahassee, 89 (11%) of those hired were applicants that checked the box indicating they had a criminal background.
These numbers were given to Tallahassee Reports by Ellen Blair, the Director of the City’s Human Resources Department.
Why are these numbers important?
The current move by Mayor Andrew Gillum to “Ban the Box”, which removes the criminal questionnaire from the City employment application, argues that those that check the box are not getting a fair shake by City staff.
The numbers do not seem to support that argument.
A comprehensive study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research found that in 2008 “about one in 15 working-age adults was an ex-felon.” This number translates to about 7% of the workforce.
Comparing this 7% number to the 15% (124) selected for employment and the 11% ultimately hired by the City of Tallahassee, would seem to indicate that during the hiring process City staff is following the law by not discriminating against those who have a criminal background.