I-Team: What Cleveland City Hall can’t tell you about violent felon workers

CLEVELAND -- A FOX 8 I-Team investigation has found Cleveland City Hall hires violent convicted felons including killers, but city hall does not keep track of their names or the jobs they’re paid to do with your tax dollars.

The mayor and the law department both told the I-Team the city does not keep records that way.

We started investigating in light of the cases involving Lance Mason. The city hired Mason after a brutal attack on his ex-wife sent him to prison. And now, Mason sits in jail under investigation for killing the same woman.

Last week, the mayor told us he knew of “several” convicted killers hired over the years on the city payroll. The mayor believes in second chances, and he says, overall, convicts have turned out to be good employees.

Still, we pressed to find out the names of those city employees convicted of murder, and we wanted to find out what jobs they’re doing.

Mayor Frank Jackson, on Monday, said, "Well, I can't tell you, individuals, who they are." He said the city does not keep a list of any sort for felon employees.

We asked, wouldn’t the city want to give special attention to workers with violent backgrounds? The mayor said, "They've been vetted. When it gets to me, it’s pretty much been vetted. This is a person who has applied and gone through some process."

In other words, the mayor has a lot of faith in his managers doing the hiring process. He said, when paperwork comes to him to sign off on a new hire, there might be an indication of felony record, but if his supervisors are recommending the person, he generally accepts that.

We met a man looking at job postings inside city hall. And Cinquez Aziz Ali reacted, saying, “Now that is unbelievable." He added, “That is not right.”

The city fired Lance Mason the day he got arrested and placed under investigation for the murder of his ex-wife. Normally, the city waits until a case plays out. But the mayor says he decided to fire Mason right away calling the facts of the new case “apparent."

The mayor points out, felons can’t do certain jobs. They are not allowed to work around children. They can’t do certain jobs at the airport, etc.

Otherwise though, the city can’t tell you the names or jobs of felon city workers. But the mayor’s not bothered by that.

He said he’s also OK with convicts working inside city hall. Jackson said, "Of course.” He added, "You have to have confidence in your system.”

Meantime, the city also no longer requires job candidates to mark on an application if they’ve been convicted of a crime.

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