Niagara Gazette

Bob Confer

July 1, 2013

CONFER: Ex-cons can be a good investment

Niagara Gazette — Earlier this year I took a group of local organizational leaders on a tour of the factory after which I told them that a quarter of our machine operators have what would be considered colorful criminal backgrounds; some had lengthy stays in prison while others are or were under probation.

This was a shock to the tour group because back in their workplaces — and in many throughout America — hiring of former criminals just isn’t something that’s done. The overzealous use of background checks for any position under the sun, as well as the dreaded “have you ever been convicted …” slot on application forms have forced many human resources managers to look at one-time lawbreakers as having the plague.

Well, let me tell you, they don’t “have the plague.” Most of those who spent time in jail or had their names splashed across the police reports in your local paper are, for the most part, just like the alleged straight shooters in the world. They want to overcome their histories. They want to make good on their lives. They want to raise perfect families. They want to contribute to society. They want to work.

When they are given that chance to work, they succeed. Ex-cons have been some of my best coworkers. The determination they possess to become new men, to stay clean and better themselves (and their families) furnishes an incredible work ethic. They saw how the other side lives — as a matter of fact, they lived it themselves — and they don’t want that life. They know the importance of the straight and narrow and they relish the freedoms and rewards that the squeaky clean types tend to take for granted.

A good life is one is one of the greatest motivators there is.

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Bob Confer
  • NIA Confer, Bob Mug CONFER: Don't go soft on teenage criminals New York is one of two states â€" North Carolina being the other â€" that automatically prosecute 16- and 17-year-olds as adults in misdemeanor and felony cases. Other states do so only on a conditional basis at the whim of the presiding judge.

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  • NIA Confer, Bob Mug 040214 CONFER: Tax refunds are no reason to be happy A strange thing tends to happen this time of year: taxpayers who should be damning the government end up praising it. These brainwashed souls, numbering in the millions, feel rewarded by what appears to be government benevolence in the form of a tax refund, failing to realize that they are getting back only a little of the money that was rightfully theirs to begin with.

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  • NIA Confer, Bob Mug CONFER: Russia on the right side of Crimea issue I don't like Russia. Never have. Probably never will.

    March 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer, Bob Mug CONFER: State's foot-dragging aggravates our energy woes I don't have to tell you that it's been a miserable winter in the northeast. We've been battered by an array of winter storms, from Polar Vortices to blizzards, and a seemingly endless barrage of below-average temperatures.

    March 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer, Bob Mug CONFER: Veterans tax exemptions making school boards uneasy School boards eyeing the new, optional veterans tax exemption in New York State face perilous choices: Who do you please? Who do you offend? Veterans or the majority of taxpayers?

    March 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer Mug [Duplicate] CONFER: The importance of Boy Scouts in America What do Gerald Ford, Neil Armstrong, and William DeVries have in common?

    February 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • • Confer, Bob mug CONFER: Move New York's primaries to June In 2009, the federal government passed the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act, which mandated that the states have federal absentee ballots in the hands of overseas military personnel at least 45 days before an election, to ensure that their completed ballots could be received by local boards of elections in a timely fashion.

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  • NIA Confer Mug CONFER: New York state could soon tax the scouts These are interesting times in New York, as we have a governor and a state legislature touting various reform packages that are expected to drop some tax rates after years of steady tax growth. It comes at a time when those same parties are testing the waters for even more public services such as universal pre-kindergarten.

    February 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer Mug CONFER: State bill would mandate parenting classes S142-2013, under review by the state Senate education committee now, would require parents of elementary school age children to attend parent support programs and workshops, including one concerning abuse in its various forms. If they didn't, their kids wouldn't be allowed to enter seventh grade.

    January 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer Mug CONFER: Opening the gates to Common Core For many, Bill Gates â€" he of the $67 billion net worth â€" is looked at as a hero for American education. Through his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, he has invested millions in the development and introduction of the Common Core standards, the latest and allegedly greatest remodeling of teaching as we knew it.

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