The city's crack deliveryman

How can a convicted drug dealer land on the city's payroll?

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When the city of Augusta hired Troy Curry as a laborer in January 2006, and basically rehired him as a meter reader in 2008, he had a nearly 20-year criminal record, including as a drug dealer.

Surprise. He was arrested recently for allegedly selling crack cocaine along his route.

If true, the city basically hired a crack deliveryman.

Nor have the courts covered themselves in glory in this case: Curry was handed a total of 15 years in prison for convictions spanning 1996-2005 -- and, obviously, wasn't even in prison when hired in January 2006.

How could this happen?

The biggest problem may be American labor law: Apparently, a criminal can't be "discriminated" against if the crime in question doesn't directly relate to the tasks required by the job. In addition, according to the city's Human Relations Department, the use of criminal background checks is frowned upon by the federal government.

Decisions not to hire or retain someone "based on the candidate's arrest record are generally improper and may lead to liability for discrimination under Title VII and state anti-discrimination laws on either a disparate treatment or adverse impact theory," says an article provided by Augusta H.R. Director Rod Powell.

In short, Powell writes, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission feels background checks "can have an adverse effect on minority applicants."

"This is why we can't, per se, use criminal background information to disqualify applicants for jobs," Powell wrote to us.

Employers, the article says, must weigh the gravity of the offense, how long ago it was and whether "the job relates to the type of crime committed (e.g., a convicted embezzler seeking an accountant's position)."

Moreover, an employer apparently "must also evaluate whether the applicant actually engaged in the alleged misconduct" -- in other words, judge the job applicant's innocence or guilt for himself, notwithstanding any court verdicts.

Why would anyone hire anyone these days?

We don't know if this legal gobbledygook, or sheer incompetence at City Hall, is to blame. But the facts are the facts: The city of Augusta carelessly hired a convicted drug dealer as a meter reader, a position of some responsibility and contact with the public -- only to find he's been allegedly selling cocaine from his city truck. He was reportedly arrested with 8 grams of it, as well as $1,600.

He had been convicted of possession of cocaine with intent to sell just a year prior to his initial hiring.

One utilities director hired him as laborer, another approved his hiring as a meter reader. Both say they weren't aware of Curry's rap sheet.

We're not suggesting a ban on hiring those with criminal records. It can be a good investment in some people's rehabilitation. But the city has no written policy on it, and two department heads have admitted they had no clue of this man's particular troubles with the law from 1986 to 2004.

No federal law requires hiring with your eyes closed.

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shamrock
576
Points
shamrock 08/08/10 - 10:23 pm
0
0
While Rod Powell may be

While Rod Powell may be technically correct in the article he provided the AC, he stops short of the EEOC's complete statement. In the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Compliance Manual, regarding criminal history, it states, "…employers also must be able to justify such criteria as job related and consistent with business necessity." In other words, if an employer can determine the person's criminal history might interfere with their function or (more importantly) put co-workers or clients at risk, then the employer is legally justified in rejecting the applicant. He tried to wiggle out using a partial truth!

baronvonreich
0
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baronvonreich 08/08/10 - 11:34 pm
0
0
"...according to the city's

"...according to the city's Human Relations Department, the use of criminal background checks is frowned upon by the federal government.

Decisions not to hire or retain someone "based on the candidate's arrest record are generally improper and may lead to liability for discrimination under Title VII and state anti-discrimination laws on either a disparate treatment or adverse impact theory," says an article provided by Augusta H.R. Director Rod Powell.

In short, Powell writes, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission feels background checks "can have an adverse effect on minority applicants.""
----------------------------------------
That is absolutely not true.

First of all the federal government "frowns" upon a lot of stuff. That doesn't make it illegal.

Secondly the decision to not hire someone based on their criminal record does not violate Title VII or any discrimination laws.

Thirdly the EEOC can "feel" however they like, but it is not illegal or unethical to conduct background checks and use it and subsequent criminal records as a criteria for determination on hiring. Just because blacks willingly break laws and are incarcerated at twice the rate of Hispanics and at 6 times the rate of whites, the EEOC and Title VII do not protect them from prejudices associated from these past indiscretions.

In El v. Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, 479 F.3d 232 (3d. Cir. 2007), the court concluded that Title VII requires that criminal record policies “accurately distinguish between applicants that pose an unacceptable level of risk and those that do not.” That decision presented 2 lessons. (1) Employers may refuse to hire some persons with criminal records, despite the racially disparate impact. (2) However, to avoid violating Title VII, they must carefully craft their criminal record exclusionary policies, based on empirical evidence as to whether a person with a criminal record presents more than a minimal risk.

All that Rod Powell needs to do is his job and write a basic hiring policy. Sounds like Rod Powell is about as competent as Chiquita the attorney.

GGpap
528
Points
GGpap 08/09/10 - 12:23 am
0
0
The first two posters

The first two posters apparentlly DID the background research the AC editorial staff should have done BEFORE printing this article.

But, on the other hand, it was obviouly more important to the AC to slant their article so as to put the blame on 1) Title VII, then 2) on the EEOC, and finally, on Mr. Powell. They deliberately chose to direct the reader's anger at the government first, and then, as an afterthought, against Mr. Powell.

Our government is certainly without fault, but when someone deliberately manufactures and prints unsubstantiated fault... Yellow-Journalism!

GGpap

johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 08/09/10 - 06:52 pm
0
0
Last week, when this story

Last week, when this story first ran, I commented on how those who control the hiring feel "...background checks "can have an adverse effect on minority applicants." The AC moderator removed my comments because I pointed this out. Now it's part of an editorial. I'm wondering if the moderator will remove this editorial for making the same point I did.

Riverman1
90849
Points
Riverman1 08/09/10 - 03:57 am
0
0
Augusta H.R. Director Rod

Augusta H.R. Director Rod Powell misrepresents what can be done. He either needs to be educated or replaced due to lack of understanding of the law. Plus, he needs to apologize to the county for throwing out that tap dancing routine and admit he was wrong.

Brad Owens
4859
Points
Brad Owens 08/09/10 - 03:46 am
0
0
Augusta H.R. Director Rod

Augusta H.R. Director Rod Powell writes, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission feels background checks "can have an adverse effect on minority applicants."

WOW!!! I want to see that EEOC directive if it does exisit.

I bet that is a local person reading it a certain way, maybe not, but I would have to ask for that one in writing before I put it into practice.

I agree that you must weigh options on people who have made mistakes in the past, but remember, Matt Aitken had drug charges against him and he is now a sitting commissioner. I think Matt is a great guy and he has shown that people who have made mistakes can turn thier lives around.

So no, I don't think you should prevent folks from working because they have criminal pasts but Matt's mistakes were almost twenty years ago with no further problems. By the way, he is "white" in case you all didn't know.

I disagree that running background checks is a disadvantage to minority applicants, and I say that is a racist statement and misguided policy.

Any policy based on race that gives one race an advantage when it comes to public jobs is an unfair situation and presenst a violation of someone's equal rights.

Situation normal,

Brad

shivas
2
Points
shivas 08/09/10 - 05:52 am
0
0
Why is the AC giving opinions

Why is the AC giving opinions on this non-story rather than taking a stand on tomorrows Rep. run-off for Governor? Because they are bandwagon jumpers who are scared to have a real opinion. They only give opinions affirming their readership's views- Right-wing. Such a loser of a newspaper.

Junket831
0
Points
Junket831 08/09/10 - 06:34 am
0
0
What planet is Powell from? A

What planet is Powell from? A thorough background check is critical to the proper hiring of public officials. This should not only include a criminal background check but also a check of the applicants credit worthiness. The reason is really quite simple, but one that local government seems incapable of following. If you fail to disclose (read lie) your history it should mean immediate removal and a bar to future employment. The case in question is a good one because he failed to fully disclose his conviction history. Had this been caught in a proper background check he would not have been working in the government. Or at least anywhere else but Richmond County.

Little Lamb
48039
Points
Little Lamb 08/09/10 - 07:17 am
0
0
Come on, Shivas. You know

Come on, Shivas. You know perfectly well that it is Morris newspaper policy not to make endorsements in party primaries or primary run-offs, unless there are unusual circumstances. That policy is long standing. There is no compelling reason for them to "take a stand" on the Republican governor run-off. Now, if you want Little Lamb's opinion, I stand for Karen Handel.

dashiel
176
Points
dashiel 08/09/10 - 07:32 am
0
0
"All successful newspapers

"All successful newspapers are ceaselessly querulous and bellicose. They never defend anyone or anything if they can help it; if the job is forced upon them, they tackle it by denouncing someone or something else."

Little Lamb
48039
Points
Little Lamb 08/09/10 - 07:36 am
0
0
Thanks to Shamrock, we get a

Thanks to Shamrock, we get a clearer picture of Powell's skirting the issue to try to deflect blame away from himself. It is perfectly alright to hire people with criminal records. We all make mistakes, and most of us learn from them and don't make those mistakes again. Those of us who make mistakes need jobs, too.

The proper approach for city hiring would be to do a criminal and financial background check on all candidates who pass the first screening when seeking a city job. Note, there is a question on the application that asks, "Have you been convicted of a crime? If so, please explain below." If the background check reveals that the applicant has been truthful in explaining his criminal past, then the person may be hired, but the hiring manager must justify the hiring in writing.

What Powell is trying to do is avoid the background check in order to avoid going on record to justify the criminals in city government.

Tigger_The_Tiger
0
Points
Tigger_The_Tiger 08/09/10 - 07:53 am
0
0
Watch the loonies come out

Watch the loonies come out and defend a criminal.

Pay What U Owe
5
Points
Pay What U Owe 08/09/10 - 07:57 am
0
0
This is a stoopid line of

This is a stoopid line of reasoning. What did you want to happen? The guy to starve to death because he did not have a job? He served his time and was offered another chance. He blew it and will go back to jail for a longer/more severe sentence one hopes.

If one really believes in the tenets of Christianity, the city could have arguably been trying to contribute to reform of a criminal. The fact that they failed should not indict their intent.

(I realize the quotes cited may not support this position but this is the AC and I always assume the lazy cretins are leaving out at least half the story).

Tigger_The_Tiger
0
Points
Tigger_The_Tiger 08/09/10 - 08:06 am
0
0
PWUO....if you needed a

PWUO....if you needed a babysitter, would you hire someone who was convicted of child molestation, even if he had served his time? I doubt it.

Pay What U Owe
5
Points
Pay What U Owe 08/09/10 - 08:19 am
0
0
I knew I could count on a

I knew I could count on a Christer on whom the idea of "forgiveness" is lost to chime in.

1 - The issue of the background check is relevance to job. Checking meters is not particular relevant to selling crack so a well-intentioned individual might not see a problem (or at least give benefit of the doubt). Working in a pharmacy, yes, because the temptation might impede his recovery but all a meter reader does (on the job) is move along, which he would do anyway.

2 - I am always astounded at the local population's insatiable thirst for oppression. The purpose of the law is not to give you a mechanism to punish people to satisfy your religious delusions. The purpose of the law is to protect the public. If the law thinks that someone is still a threat they should stay in jail (the sex offender list is lost on me. Why should you track a reformed man? Why would you release someone still worthy of surveillance?). There is no reason to think that someone who had tried reform and convinced whatever reasonable entities that he was worthy of release might not be trying to do the right thing.

To be sure, he has failed and the AC is brilliant when it comes to reconstructive hindsight. He should be punished (left in there forever or shot if need be) not because of the indignation of the people but because society cannot feel safe with him on the street. But to use this instance as a mechanism to show how stupid the city is does not wash with me and certainly should not wash with Christians.

dani
12
Points
dani 08/09/10 - 08:33 am
0
0
My problem is sending a crack

My problem is sending a crack dealer of any race, age, or gender into the neighborhoods. We might as well have a crack house next door.

Tigger_The_Tiger
0
Points
Tigger_The_Tiger 08/09/10 - 08:33 am
0
0
Hmmmmm...no answer.

Hmmmmm...no answer.

lsmith
105
Points
lsmith 08/09/10 - 08:35 am
0
0
PWUO: Given the long rap
Unpublished

PWUO: Given the long rap sheet of this guy his name should have been tossed at the git-go. Regardless of whether or not the entitiy hiring is governmen or not, it should be logical protocol to do a background check on the applicant. True to form this guy won't be properly punished even now. The prison system is an ugly revolving door, that punishes society more than it does the criminals.

Tigger_The_Tiger
0
Points
Tigger_The_Tiger 08/09/10 - 08:36 am
0
0
I suppose past poor credit

I suppose past poor credit shouldn't keep you from getting a loan either............isn't that what caused the housing crisis. You have to accept responsibility for your actions.

So PWUO....would you hire that molester or not?

lsmith
105
Points
lsmith 08/09/10 - 09:42 am
0
0
onlyinags: sounds kinda
Unpublished

onlyinags: sounds kinda catchy

Tigger_The_Tiger
0
Points
Tigger_The_Tiger 08/09/10 - 10:03 am
0
0
Sorry, if I'm drawn to the

Sorry, if I'm drawn to the pictures.

Tigger_The_Tiger
0
Points
Tigger_The_Tiger 08/09/10 - 10:05 am
0
0
How does posting his picture

How does posting his picture "bring up race" anyway? Should we hid his picture if he's black? Why do you have such a big chip on your shoulder, as if you've been wronged by "the man?"

bettyboop
7
Points
bettyboop 08/09/10 - 10:05 am
0
0
LOL..tigger it took old

LOL..tigger it took old jackie only 20 comments to insert his racist comment...and now he will be on a roll...jackie..gots to loVe him!!

dichotomy
36353
Points
dichotomy 08/09/10 - 10:10 am
0
0
I think we all know why our

I think we all know why our county personnel office hires convicted drug dealers and other felons. It is the same reason our county excused $25K from disappearing from the tax office, $14K being embezzled from a school fund, a school principal with DUI, a totally failed school retaining the same principal, new construction that floods at the first drizzle, etc. ad nauseam. From top to bottom our city/county has clearly not just lowered the bar, but has laid the bar on the gound for the purpose of inclusion and making sure everyone has their shot at getting the taxpayer's dollars including the criminal and incompetent. There are NO standards for getting or keeping a job OR getting a contract with Augusta/RC. There seems to be only one primary qualification and everything else gets a PASS.

flipa
35
Points
flipa 08/09/10 - 10:11 am
0
0
GGpap wrote; "Our government

GGpap wrote;
"Our government is certainly without fault, but when someone deliberately manufactures and prints unsubstantiated fault... Yellow-Journalism!"

Perhaps you missed the City Crack Dealers Wrap sheet? And "government is certainly without fault" W-O-W! I respect your right to free speech but
everybody’s got faults. If they say they don't they will lie about other things too. Everybody involved in the cover up of hiring this professional long term repeat offender crack dealer should refund 2 yrs of pay back to the city treasury. They are ONE step from RICO statutes of Organized Crime. They COVERED UP the fact that they hoisted a PROFESSIONAL CRACK DEALER on our city and did it to BUY VOTES not to rehabilitate anyone. Do you think they would have done this if the unsuspecting property tax payers had to be given a COPY of his wrap sheets? For once in your life be honest… Surely there are better rehabilitation candidates out there? I know a black single father that has a felony. He has completely changed his entire life and is involved in his son’s life something that is so unusual that recently Essence one of the world’s oldest black magazines asked on its front cover “WHERE ARE OUR FATHERS”
So the Government is without fault huh? How bought Steven Kendrick refusing to deposit the money Taxpayers paid every time the brinks truck came by to pick it up until $25,000. disappeared from the courthouse. He then PUNISHED a 30 yr veteran of the tax office that had never had a problem under every tax collector they served under. Without Fault Huh? Hah ahahha

mary dits
2
Points
mary dits 08/09/10 - 10:19 am
0
0
i couldn't help but notice

i couldn't help but notice this when j christian posted it on facebook and asked about this being a problem for aces when they endorsed a convicted drug dealer for commission. if i say "matt aitken" will this post?

Little Lamb
48039
Points
Little Lamb 08/09/10 - 10:21 am
0
0
To Dichotomy: here, here!

To Dichotomy: here, here! Now you know why Fred Russell's slogan is "What, me worry?"

Little Lamb
48039
Points
Little Lamb 08/09/10 - 10:26 am
0
0
Flipa wrote: How ’bout Steven

Flipa wrote:

How ’bout Steven Kendrick refusing to deposit the money Taxpayers paid every time the brinks truck came by to pick it up until $25,000. disappeared from the courthouse. He then PUNISHED a 30-year veteran of the tax office that had never had a problem under every tax collector they served under.

Don't you think it's time for the Chronicle or Scott Hudson of WGAC or the Metro Spirit Insider to do an update on the inside job where the tax money was taken from the open safe? Can they at least quote the Sheriff's office as declaring the case officially closed? Am I the only one who cares about this crime?

baronvonreich
0
Points
baronvonreich 08/09/10 - 10:39 am
0
0
Did the ACES ever find out

Did the ACES ever find out who this crack dealing meter reader was related to? My money is still on Betty Beard.

judgeandjury
32
Points
judgeandjury 08/09/10 - 10:49 am
0
0
I attended a legal briefing

I attended a legal briefing in Washington several months ago. The presenting attorney made it clear that it is a Obama priority, that screening for criminal convictions creates a disparate impact on minorities and therefore is discrimination. This is being driven through the EEOC. The EEOC is currently trying to bring cases against private employers who screen out felons. Powell is taking a position which 99% of private employers will not. Private employers will continue to screen out the risk, regardless of color.

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