Tampa City Council likely to delay 'ban the box' discussion

Published Jan. 22, 2015

TAMPA — The City Council today could draw a crowd ready to support a "ban the box" proposal to help those with criminal records apply for jobs. But council members are expected to postpone that discussion for three months.

The nonprofit Hillsborough Organization for Progress and Equality, or HOPE, wants City Hall to ban companies selling goods or services to the city from using a question, or box, on job applications asking whether applicants have a criminal record.

Glossy HOPE fliers distributed at Hillsborough churches Sunday urged parishioners to turn out at the council's meeting this morning to support the idea.

"Take a stand against discrimination!" they said.

But on Wednesday, the city attorney's office sent a memo to the council asking to reschedule the discussion for April 16. City Attorney Julia Mandell is unexpectedly out of the office this week.

Two years ago, City Hall stopped making applicants check off a box on its job application if they had a criminal past. Since then, city job offers have come with this string attached: before you start, you have to pass a background check that includes a criminal history.

In November, the council asked for a staff report this week on steps the city could take to extend its internal policy to city vendors. Mayor Bob Buckhorn's administration has been cool to the idea, as has the Florida Gulf Coast chapter of the construction industry advocacy group Associated Builders and Contractors.

Contact Richard Danielson at or (813) 226-3403. Follow @Danielson_Times.