DETROIT (WWJ) – It’s been the subject of much debate — whether companies who do business with Detroit should be allowed to include a question on applications about having a felony conviction.

In a move to encourage vendors to do business with the city, two Detroit City Councilmen want to remove the question about felony convictions on employment applications.

Councilman Ken Cockrel said he and colleague Kwame Kenyatta are working out details of the expanded “Ban the Box” ordinance.

“The reason for it really is just to expand the total number of opportunities out there that are available for people who have been incarcerated but have now been released, paid their debt to society, and are now looking for work,” Cockrel said.

However, Mayor Dave Bing’s Director of Purchasing Andre DuPerry said removing the question could be costly and discourage vendors from wanting to do business with the city.

“We will be, in essence, potentially and probably reducing even further who would want to do business with us,” DuPerry said.

Supporters of “Ban the Box” say it allows ex-felons an opportunity to at least get an interview with a potential employer so they can explain their past and promote their skills.

Comments (3)
  1. Sally says:

    I do not follow how a question on a private employer work application has anything to do with a contractor bidding for city work. Explain please. If the city is not the one hiring them what does the city care. The contractor is the one vouching for their workers and that the workers will get the job done. If “no felony convictions” are part of the bid specifications, then that should be supported by showing convicted felons are unable to do the job. If “no felony convictions” is a bid requirement, then yes it should be removed as you cannot prove that a felony conviction makes you unable to do a job.

  2. jeffry says:

    really? does this council work overtime to appear incompetent?

  3. Jille says:

    In this economy, it’s becoming much more difficult to get hired. Today’s hurdles now include not only the felony “box”, but one for misdemeanors, smokers and many companies will not even consider hiring you if you are currently out of work. The country complains about deadbeats with their boots on their necks. But here in Detroit there are so many literally forced back into crime just to survive because the rest of us won’t even let them up for air when they desperately want a second chance. Detroit is as Detroit does. Mayor Bing, please be part of the solution.

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