Genesee County commissioners weigh â??ban the boxâ?? policy

It's a question literally dividing the Genesee County commission.

â??If I pay my debt to society, I should be given a chance,â?? says Omar Sims, a Genesee County commissioner.

â??I did vote against ban the box in the form it was presented today,â?? says Archie Bailey, also a Genesee County commissioner.

The question is---should the county ask job applicants if they've been convicted of a felony?

â??Yes, all the time, you need to know who you're working by,â?? says James Hemphill, a Flint resident.

â??They should give a person a second chance because we all make mistakes in our past,â?? says Steven Allen, also a Flint resident.

Commissioner Omar Sims backs the resolution. He says getting rid of the question levels the playing field and gives more opportunities.

â??If Iâ??m filling out an application and I know that I have a criminal record, guess what's going to happen? You're going to throw it away without even giving me a chance,â?? says Sims.

But Commissioner Bailey says felons convicted of crimes against children should have to fess up.

â??I think we owe it to the children to inform and advise the prospective employer,â?? says Bailey.

Saginaw County and Detroit already have ban the box policies but in Genesee County, the question still up in the air.

â??We got enough criminals in office,â?? says Hemphill.

â??In order to move forward, someone has to give you a chance,â?? adds Allen.

The county commission will vote on the issue again, next Wednesday.

Thereâ??s also legislation in Lansing that could make this a law across Michigan. That bill, introduced in March, is currently in house committee.