The county announced today it would be “banning the box” on job applications that asked prospective employees about their criminal records. A current application for an open position on the county’s website doesn’t include a criminal record question.
“Taking this step reinforces our commitment to fair hiring practices,” said Marcy Foster, the county’s Department of Human Resources director, in a press release. “And ‘banning the box’ will help ensure that happens.”
For positions related to public safety, like police officers and firefighters, asking about criminal convictions will still be part of the application process, and “questions regarding criminal convictions may still be asked at the time of the interview,” the county said.
By “banning the box,” Arlington joins Alexandria, Newport News, Norfolk and Richmond — along with 10 states — as jurisdictions that no longer ask about criminal convictions in the first phase of job applications. While criminal records never were a disqualification for employment in Arlington, the county said, “they can be a barrier to employment for anyone with a criminal record, negatively impacting millions of Americans.”
“Allowing these candidates to proceed further into the process creates opportunities that may otherwise have been lost, and provides candidates with a more level playing field during the application process,” the press release states.
Arlington will also no longer ask questions about convictions for driving under the influence, except for jobs that require the applicant to operate a motor vehicle. If a candidate is selected for a job, the county will still perform its standard background check.
“Allowing these candidates to proceed further into the process creates opportunities that may otherwise have been lost, and provides candidates with a more level playing field during the application process,” the county said, in a press release. “Arlington County is committed to being an equal opportunity employer, and to attracting, developing and retaining a diverse workforce to serve the community.”
Eliminating the stigma against technical education will help young Virginians get better jobs, Sen. Tim Kaine said at a panel discussion Wednesday afternoon at the Capitol, where two Arlington teachers spoke about their successes in the field.
Young people can get better-paying jobs if the perception of high school job-skills courses is changed from an option for failing students to a smart choice, Kaine said. The discussion was held by the national education coalition Advocates for Literacy and the Senate Career and Technical Education Caucus, of which Kaine is co-chair.
“This big-picture goal which our caucus is related to is de-stigmatizing [career and technical education] and making it really hot, sexy and cool,” he said. “Technical education is coming back strong and it’s something we can celebrate.”
Jeffrey Elkner and Sean Kinnard, both teachers at the Arlington Public Schools-run Arlington Career Center, described how giving youth practical skills motivates them.
“Students who would be turned off otherwise make real-world connections,” said Elkner, who teaches math and information technology at the career center. Located at 816 S. Walter Reed Drive, the school trains more than 1,100 students a day in programs including animal science, cosmetology and automotive technology.
Kinnard spoke about a teen from Afghanistan who was disengaged in ordinary high school classes but had a passion for cars. After participating in the school’s two-year auto tech program, the teen now works for a Mercedes dealer.
“The program got him the industry credentials he needed to get his job,” said Kinnard, who teaches English as a Second Language.
Kaine described a disconnect between job seekers’ skills and the positions available.
“There’s a mismatch right now between the unemployment rate and positions going unfilled, and what that means is we’re not training people in the right skills,” he said. “[Career and technical education] is probably the best thing you can do to realign that so the skills match up with the needs.”
The junior senator introduced on Wednesday the Middle School Technical Education Program Act, which would encourage middle school students to explore technical career options and provide access to apprenticeships.
CEB to Pay $22 Million Per Year for Rent — The Corporate Executive Board filed a quarterly report on Thursday showing it plans to pay $22 million per year in rent to anchor the Central Place office tower in Rosslyn. That number is just base rent without any additional operating expenses or real estate taxes. [Washington Business Journal]
New App for Job Seekers — A free app called VAWorks launched yesterday to help residents find jobs. Users can search for jobs by occupation, location or keyword. The app is available for Apple and Android devices. [The Virginian-Pilot]
Many Nominees for ’40 Under 40′ — Leadership Arlington is pleased with how many nominations it received for its inaugural 40 Under 40 recognition program – 250. Awards will be presented on December 4. [InsideNova]
Arlington posted the open position on its jobs page this morning. According to county spokeswoman Mary Curtius, the position has been open for six months after interim deputy manager Jay Farr returned to his original post as deputy chief of the systems management division with the Arlington County Police Department.
Farr had replaced former Deputy County Manager Marsha Allgeier, who stepped down about a year ago into a part-time position as assistant county manager of special products, Curtius said.
The salary for the open position is “negotiable for up to $195,000″ and the responsibilities include overseeing the Department of Environmental Services, the county’s largest department.
“This executive will be a visionary leader who will focus on overseeing the Transportation, Environmental and Capital Programs,” the posting states. “The Deputy will focus on ensuring that the strategic vision and goals are being met and are aligned with the County mission and vision by providing oversight to all staff associated with the Programs and in collaboration with task forces, citizen groups and other stakeholders.”
The county also announced it was seeking a new director of Arlington Economic Development, who would become the full-time replacement for the late AED Director Terry Holzheimer. Holzheimer died in March of a heart attack. Deputy Director Cindy Richmond has served as acting director since Holzheimer’s death.
Wakefield Falls in Semifinals — The Wakefield High School boys basketball team lost in the 5A state tournament semifinals Saturday. Wakefield lost to Henrico 63-55, ending their season. [Sun Gazette]
Contract Loss Could Cost 165 Jobs in Arlington — Some 165 Lockheed Martin employees in Arlington are set to lose their jobs after the company lost a contract with the U.S. Army for information technology work. The contract was instead awarded to General Dynamics. [Washington Business Journal]
Construction Contract Awarded for New School – The Arlington School Board voted last week to award a $32.3 million contract for the construction of a new elementary school on the Williamsburg Middle School campus. The school “is anticipated to be the first Net Zero Energy School on the East Coast,” thanks to a large solar array on the roof. With design, contingencies and “soft costs” factored in, the total cost of the school is projected at $43.8 million, down from the original $46.5 million cost estimate. [Arlington Public Schools]
W-L Falls to Yorktown in Shootout — Yorktown high school hockey club defeated Washington-Lee 3-2 in a four-round shootout Saturday night at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Ballston. It was the last game of the season for both teams.
Big Lines for Car Washes — With spring-like temperatures on Saturday came spring-like lines at local car washes. Motorists lined up to get the salt residue and winter grime washed off their cars. The line for Mr. Wash on N. Glebe Road extended all the way to Route 50 at one point. [Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by BrianMKA
Wreaths to Be Placed at Arlington Nat’l Cemetery — Wreaths will be placed on nearly 130,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery on Saturday. Most of the wreaths are being made possible by a $250,000 donation from Google. [Washington Post]
Church Works to Package 100,000 Meals — More than 500 volunteers worked to package 100,000 non-perishable meals for hungry children around the world last week at Jefferson Middle School. The effort was organized by Grace Community Church. [Sun Gazette]
ACPD Hiring Recruit Officers — The Arlington County Police Department is looking to hire a number of entry-level police officers this winter. The application process involves a written exam, physical ability test, interview, polygraph test, psychological evaluation and medical evaluation. [PoliceOne.com, Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
USS Arlington Recovers NASA Capsule — The newly commissioned USS Arlington participated in test of NASA’s new Orion capsule. Crews from the ship successfully recovered a test version of the capsule and towed it back to the Arlington’s deck well, an important milestone before the capsule is used to return astronauts from space. [Universe Today]
Silver Line Travel Times — How long will it take to travel to Tysons Corner on the new Metro Silver Line, once it opens? Approximately 22 minutes from Rosslyn, or 10 minutes from East Falls Church, according to estimates. [Greater Greater Washington]
One-on-One Resume Help — Looking for a job? Need help with your resume? Advisors from the Arlington Employment Center will be helping residents create and edit resumes at Shirlington Branch Library (4200 Campbell Avenue) from 1:00 to 4:00 this afternoon. The service is free but registration is required. [Arlington Public Library]
Photo by Lawrence Cheng Photography
Wardian Wins Endurance Races — Prolific ultra-marathoner and Arlington resident Michael Wardian won the North Face Endurance Challenge D.C. 50 mile race on Saturday, with a time of 6:45:36. Wardian then woke up on Sunday and placed second in the 10K endurance challenge and won the 5K endurance challenge. [North Face]
Arlingtonian Wins Post Hunt — Arlington resident Sean Memon, 35, won the sixth annual Post Hunt over the weekend. Whereas teams of “hunters” usually compete in the life-sized puzzle game, Memon, an attorney, “was the first individual to win a hunt, either in Washington or in South Florida, where the event originated.” [Washington Post]
Anti-Gang Soccer Tourney in Arlington — The Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force will hold its 5th annual regional soccer tournament at Washington-Lee high school on June 22. The tournament is open to 100 at-risk youth between the ages of 12 and 16. [Arlington County]
How to Get a Job in Healthcare — A panel presentation at Arlington Central Library on Wednesday will discuss “opportunities, needs and challenges in the health and medical career fields with a special focus on Northern Virginia.” The event is targeted to job seekers. “While we like to think that ALL Library events are memorable, this one probably could change a few lives, judging from the job markets,” said library spokesman Peter Golkin. [Arlington Public Library]
Flickr pool photo by J.D. Moore
The Right Note is a weekly opinion column published on Thursdays. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.
The United States continues to battle Japan for the dubious distinction of having the highest corporate tax rate in the world. It is not a place in the world rankings we should aspire to hold if we want to remain the global economic leader for generations to come. While our unemployment rate is inching down, too many Americans have simply given up looking for work. So, it is incumbent upon elected officials to create a pro-growth environment at every level of government.
This week Virginia gubernatorial candidate and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli outlined his Economic Growth & Virginia Jobs Plan. It touches on a number of items, but I wanted to highlight three:
First, the plan calls for capping state government spending growth at no more than the rate of population plus inflation. This is a common sense measure that would give legislators in Richmond a reasonable budget to work with every two years. Hopefully, the idea would be given the force and effect of law rather than simply be stated as a goal.
Second, the plan would reduce the corporate income tax rate to 4 percent, which would make Virginia’s rate one of the most attractive in the country. Certainly, one of the ways, other than savings from a cap in spending growth, to accommodate the tax rate reduction is by heeding Cuccinelli’s call to curtail special interest tax breaks. Leveling the playing field for all businesses in Virginia makes sense.
Third, the plan would create a Small Business Tax Relief Commission. One of the goals of this commission is to reduce or eliminate the BPOL tax. As noted last week, BPOL is a tax on gross receipts, not income. This tax particularly hurts businesses with the slimmest profit margins.
Making jobs and the economy his first specific policy rollout sends a strong signal about the highest priority of the Cuccinelli campaign. For comparison, Terry McAuliffe’s website does feature an issue section with a page on jobs or the economy. His sole economic growth policy position is that we should invest in the creation of “green jobs”, which probably means taxpayer funded special interest incentives. McAuliffe has maintained this priority even after a string of negative reports on his GreenTech Automotive venture. Based on GreenTech, and failed companies like Solyndra, Virginians should be wary of any government attempts to pick winners and losers.
Competition for businesses, and the jobs they bring, will continue between states. We should expect our next governor to have a plan to make Virginia number one in private sector job creation.
Mark Kelly is a former Arlington GOP Chairman and two-time Republican candidate for Arlington County Board.
Arlington House Rededicated — Arlington House, the family home of Robert E. Lee and an iconic symbol of Arlington County, has been rededicated by the National Park Service following a six year restoration effort. The ceremony was held on Saturday, on the 152nd anniversary of Lee’s decision to lead the rebellion in the Civil War. [Sun Gazette]
County’s Bond Ratings Reaffirmed — Arlington County has had its top Aaa/AAA debt ratings reaffirmed by rating agencies Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s. The ratings will allow Arlington to borrow money at a lower interest rate. “The Aaa rating reflects the county’s strong long-term credit characteristics including a sizeable and affluent tax base, stable and carefully-managed financial operations with sound reserves, and moderate debt position with manageable future borrowing needs,” Moody’s wrote of Arlington. [Arlington County]
Garvey: Streetcars Fail Cost/Benefit Analysis — In an op-ed in the Washington Post, County Board member Libby Garvey says streetcars on Columbia Pike “are not a good investment for anyone.” Streetcars would not solve transportation challenges on the Pike, and would instead “siphon resources away from other important needs,” Garvey wrote. [Washington Post]
Arlington to Help Train Vets in IT — Arlington County has accepted a $150,000 state grant that will help train military veterans for high-demand Information Technology (IT) jobs. The grant will go to a joint Arlington/Alexandria job training program, which is expected to serve more than 50 veterans over an 18-month period. [Arlington County]
Democratic Northern Virginia legislators joined gubernatorial hopeful Terry McAuliffe in spending part of the afternoon praising the state’s newly passed transportation bill and Republican Governor Bob McDonnell’s role in pushing it through.
State Sen. Dick Saslaw, Sen. Janet Howell and Del. Alfonso Lopez joined McAuliffe in discussing the bipartisanship and compromises needed for passing the legislation. Howell noted that nobody fully backed the bill but legislators had to put aside their difference to reach a compromise on the state’s first transportation funding plan in nearly three decades.
“We had very different views on what the ultimate solution should be. We had philosophical differences, we had regional differences, we had partisan differences. But we agreed on one crucial matter — doing nothing was no longer an option,” said Howell. “We’ve all disagreed with Governor McDonnell on certain issues, but this was a time when we came together. Like every compromise, no one got exactly what he or she wanted. In fact, there are parts of it that make me want to gag. But we made progress for Virginia.”
The press conference took place near the Washington Blvd bridge over Columbia Pike; speakers took turns referencing the bridge and how the new bill would fund similar infrastructure projects.
“We have needed this in South Arlington for literally decades. Because of the compromise that we were able to hash out in the General Assembly, there will be projects like this happening all across the Commonwealth,” Lopez said. “Literally, there have been pieces falling out of that bridge for decades and now we’re getting it fixed.”
Although he wasn’t directly a part of passing the legislation himself, McAuliffe said he spent hours on the phone with members of both parties, pushing them to find a compromise. The former Democratic National Committee chairman commended all legislators involved while alluding to more projects on failing infrastructure should he win the governor’s seat.
“We finally have some money to do what we need to do to keep the citizens safe,” said McAuliffe. “This was a bipartisan effort to deal with transportation. We are able to stand here today, where inaction has been happening for 27 years, and say something was done.”
McAuliffe did take time to blast Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who is expected to be his Republican rival for governor. He bashed Cuccinelli, as did the other officials in attendance, for acting as a roadblock to the transportation bill. He then turned his focus to another of his campaign issues — job creation.
“We need to be making sure that if we’re going to get cuts here, your next governor is focused on diversifying this economy, bringing in 21st century jobs. And you can only do that by a great transportation system, a great education system, workforce training,” said McAuliffe. “I can work with anybody, any time of the day, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, anybody, anytime if you’re going to help me create jobs for the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
One of the issues in the transportation bill that has been controversial in Northern Virginia is the $100 annual tax for hybrid vehicle owners. Saslaw told ARLnow.com that he could potentially argue for either side of that issue, but it might be better for the governor in the long run if he performs a line item veto on that particular measure.
“The governor probably would be better off lining it out. You could say the squeeze ain’t worth the juice having it in there. It’s an awful lot of aggravation for $18 million out of an $800 million dollar thing,” Saslaw said. “It only takes a minute to look at it, I don’t know if he’ll do anything. And if he starts mucking with it too much, it’s going to start to get rejected.”
Saslaw said the issue will likely create more trouble than it’s worth because the number of hybrid drivers in the state is so small — only a little more than 1 percent of the total vehicle owners. He believes it might have made more sense to find another revenue boost, such as raising vehicle registration fees or imposing a tax based on a vehicle’s gas usage per gallon, not simply the fact that it’s hybrid. In the end, he reiterated that the bill was imperfect, but it needed to pass.
“I voted for the compromise, as did everyone else, because when that thing comes out of conference you either vote for it or you don’t vote for it,” said Saslaw. “As Senator Howell pointed out, [it] is not the ideal situation. In fact, when it becomes law, it’s going to have to be tweaked.”
The cuts are being made to help plug a $25-50 million budget gap for the upcoming fiscal year. Donnellan will outline her proposed FY 2014 budget to members of the media on Wednesday afternoon. The budget is expected to include a mix of cuts and tax hikes.
On Friday, in a memo to county employees (below) obtained by ARLnow.com, Donnellan announced that the county is cutting 46 staff positions, including 20 that are currently filled. She also said that the county has instituted a hiring slowdown and that 20 employees have taken an early retirement package.
The county is working to place the 20 employees whose positions were cut in other open positions within county government, Donnellan said.
To: All County Employees
Re: Balancing the FY 2014 Budget
Date: February 15, 2013
I’m sure you are aware that we are grappling with a $25 million gap for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 budget.
As a County we have taken many steps to help close that gap, and I am proud of the way departments have embraced this challenge. To close the gap, we will need to use a combination of tax rate increases and spending cuts.
As a part of the spending cuts, we instituted a hiring slow down a few months ago, which limits the pace at which departments may fill openings. Another piece of the strategy was to offer an Early Retirement Window for eligible employees, and 20 employees participated in that program.
After much thoughtful discussion, we have made the difficult decision to cut 46 County staff positions. Unfortunately, of these, 20 are currently filled, and we are working to move these employees into other open positions. The department directors and I do not take this decision lightly; these are among the toughest decisions that we have to make. We are making every attempt to place those employees into other positions within the County. If we are, for some reason, unable to match an employee with an open position, the employee will receive a severance package.
These are difficult fiscal times. We are aware that over the last few years, we have asked you to do more with less – taking up more work when a colleague retires and isn’t replaced; addressing new and increasing service demands due to our growing population; performing administrative work in addition to normal job duties.
We are successful only because of the strength of our staff, and I am grateful for your continued dedication and service to our community.
Barbara M. Donnellan
The Right Note is a weekly opinion column by published on Thursdays. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.
Terry McAuliffe, the Democrats’ nominee for governor, is trying to explain away his decision to locate a GreenTech Automotive plant, and the 1,500 manufacturing jobs that go with it, in Mississippi instead of Virginia.
McAuliffe initially tried to blame the GreenTech plant location decision on a lack of support from the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. After examining the email trail on the matter, PolitiFact rated McAuliffe’s claim as “false,” and the AP seems to agree. It appears that McAuliffe’s company never really tried that hard to put the plant here in Virginia.
While we cannot blame a company for locating its facilities in a state that makes the most sense for its bottom line, it is certainly fair game to ask why McAuliffe, and his well known gubernatorial ambitions, did not locate the plant and jobs here. McAuliffe has maintained an active political presence pointed to the 2013 campaign in Virginia since losing to Creigh Deeds in the 2009 Democratic primary.
Every governor wants, or should want, to create an environment where businesses develop and grow. Governor McDonnell has made it a point of emphasis for Virginia to rank high on the list of “best states to do business” each year. Both McAuliffe and the Republican nominee Ken Cuccinelli will likely make the economy a top issue in their campaigns.
GreenTech was the perfect business for McAuliffe to point to for his economic bonafides in a run for governor of Virginia. It appeals to Northern Virginia concerns about transportation and the environment. And, he could have certainly found a suitable location in Virginia with a manufacturing labor force ready to go.
So, it is hard to understand why he would not attempt to move heaven and earth to locate the GreenTech plant here in Virginia rather than outsourcing to Mississippi.
McAuliffe’s bigger problem with voters may not even be that he made a controversial business decision, but that he felt compelled to try and rewrite history about the decision. By attempting to spin his way out of the problem, he actually made the problem worse. Now, McAuliffe can probably look forward to hearing “he created hundreds of jobs in Mississippi instead of Virginia then lied about it” all the way through election day in November.
Mark Kelly is a former Arlington GOP Chairman and two-time Republican candidate for Arlington County Board.
The job description and requirements are as follows.
Never walk alone. Physical fitness with a furry twist, our part time dog walking positions are the right balance of time/energy for students, retirees, entrepreneurs and stay at home moms. Our employees love PETS and PEOPLE alike, and eagerly deliver a regular routine of high quality care & interaction with a consistent roster of clients in a tight geographic area within ARLINGTON, VA.
- COMPENSATION: Paid on a generous per visit basis averaging between $14 and $17 per hour, 100% tips & expenses, cancellation, holiday and overtime pay.
- HOURS: Monday – Friday 10AM – 4PM
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- LONG TERM commitment at a minimum of six months is required.
- Joining a supportive TEAM, where you never stop learning about pets and their behavior, nutrition, enrichment, safety and care.
- Your permanent home address is within TEN miles of our service area in Arlington County.
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Interested applicants should email a cover letter “explaining why you feel you would be a great addition to the Loyalty Team” to email@example.com, AND complete the online application at http://www.loyaltypet.com/apply.
School Enrollment Surging – Enrollment in Arlington Public Schools is now projected to increase from 22,657 pre-K to 12th grade students today to 30,777 students by the 2023-24 school year. The projections suggest that enrollment will near 27,000 by the 2017-18 school year, breaking the previous record for APS enrollment. [Sun Gazette]
Ukrainian Mayor Presents Library With Sculpture – Viktor Anushkevychus, the mayor of Ivano-Frankivsk, Arlington’s sister city in Ukraine, presented Arlington Central Library with a metal sculpture of a tree yesterday. [Arlington Public Library]
Libby Garvey Looking for New Assistant — Arlington County Board member Libby Garvey is seeking a new aide in the County Board office, after her previous aide left for a new position in the county. “If you know of anyone who might be interested in the position, please encourage them to check out the announcement and apply,” she said in a recent email to supporters. The full-time job pays between $39,062 and $63,523, plus benefits. [Arlington County]
Model Bootcamp Coming to Pentagon City — A “bootcamp” for wanna-be models is coming to the Pentagon City mall on Saturday. From 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 pm, the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City will host a promotional event for “The Face,” a new modeling competition show on the Oxygen network. Participants will be put through a “casting session” that will include a short photo shoot; in the end, they’ll be emailed an animated GIF of photos from the shoot. [Oxygen]