Ex-cons working for city of Fort Myers
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
FORT MYERS, Fla.- Christine Matthews won the ward three seat in a landslide with more than 70 percent of the vote, unseating incumbent Levon Simms and avoiding a runoff in November.
Mathews wants to authorize the city of Fort Myers to relax employment restrictions - so convicted felons can apply and get jobs in the City of Fort Myers.
Christine Mathews won big in the ward 3 Fort Myers council race.
When asked why it was such a huge margin of victory- 70% of the vote - she explained it was her stand on getting convicted felons back to work.
She said "Its the second chance program. What it does is give felons a second chance to get -gain employment . I'm going to ask the city to relax some of the restrictions and guidelines on hiring criminal felons to get them back to work."
Mayor Randy Henderson said "it doesn't seem fair to those who have lived a responsible life... but she is free to bring it up for discussion."
Tom Leonardo points out that people with jobs are less likely to commit crimes and added that "I certainly can support it so long as we make sure the offense is not a a major offense.. its not a violent crime."
Mathews website points out that its only intended for non-violent felons.
And, she also wants to give tax breaks to companies that hire ex-cons.
People in downtown Fort Myers were willing to consider it... with some restrictions.
Debbie Laufer said "I'm open to the idea... and I would actually support it however I do believe there should be some kind of background check to make sure their convictions weren't violent."
Jonathan Sigg said " I am open to it but to a degree that we are watching these people closely - that they get a second chance but don't just assume they may not make a mistake again."
Mathews will be sworn into office in November.
If her proposal passes -- how many jobs would open up to ex-cons?
The city's employment page shows they have ten openings.