I noted a disturbing comment in an article titled Fairfield County hopes reactors will boost economy
The article is about the understandable desire among leaders in Fairfield County, SC to ensure that the construction of VC Summer units 2 and 3 result in local benefits. They want local people to have a shot of landing both construction jobs and permanent employment on the operational staff. There are excellent steps being taken in terms of education and training to prepare people for those jobs.
However, someone needs to provide important advice to those local leaders before they make a gross tactical error.
But if Fairfield leaders are going to reap the economic benefits of the reactors this time around, they have some hurdles to clear.
“We’ve got two major problems,” said David Ferguson, Fairfield County Council chairman. We’ve got a work force where a lot of our kids made mistakes when they were younger (and have blemishes on their records) – and you can’t work at a nuclear station, not even building and constructing it, if you have the least little score against your name for anything. That’s one big problem we are having right now.”
Ferguson said the county is working with the sheriff’s department and attorneys seeking expungement of records for some non-violent crimes. “That’s a bigger problem than people may realize,” he said.
Please, Fairfield County council and sheriff, whatever you do, do not even think about expunging criminal records.
The nuclear industry values honesty and dependability more than almost any other characteristics in its work force for very good reasons. We do not just worry about “violent” crimes, but about records that indicate a lack of fundamental integrity. It would be far better for someone to provide accurate details about their youthful indiscretions and what actions they have taken to ensure that they never happen again than to fail to accurately report them.
If there is a pattern of misbehaving, there is a good reason why that person is not a good fit for the nuclear industry.
It would be beneficial for the people of your county if nuclear industry employers could count on your records being accurate. It would be terribly detrimental if there is even a hint that the records might have been purged to make local people look better. Just think how that knowledge would affect those people in your county who did not run into any scrapes with the law. Do you think it is possible that employers would start looking elsewhere in order to lower the possibility of hiring someone whose skeletons might be found out later?
In small towns, people have long memories. It seems likely to me that there will always be people who remember youthful indiscretions. If I was an employer, I would be worried about the risk of having someone with an expunged record on my payroll – they might live in fear that someone will tattle at any time. It’s even possible that the knowledge of what used to be in the record could be used as a blackmail tool.