EL MONTE – Council members said Thursday they were unaware that a job-placement program for recently released inmates was located in the city. Officials at the state parole office in El Monte regularly refer ex-felons to the Central San Gabriel Valley Worksource Center on Valley Boulevard, according to El Monte Police Agent Richard Luna. The center finds jobs for ex-convicts with companies that have agreed to hire individuals with criminal records. El Monte Councilman Juventino “J” Gomez asked city staffers for a report on the program during the Nov. 20 council meeting. Gomez said he first learned about it from reading an Oct. 28 article in this newspaper. “I was not aware of this,” said Gomez on Thursday. “The story said there were 80 (ex-inmates) coming to El Monte every month. My concern is that we were not informed whether they are drug dealers, sexual predators or violent offenders.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREPettersson scores another winner, Canucks beat KingsCouncilwoman Emily Ishigaki also questioned whether the ex-convicts were being imported to the city from other areas. “I have nothing against helping people get back on their feet,” Ishigaki said. “But we don’t need to be taking in every other city’s problems.” Police officials and those associated with the program said there are restrictions in place to protect the public and others using the program. “Certain sex offenders are not allowed into the program, as well as those convicted of certain violent crimes and drug offenses,” said Luna, an El Monte police agent familiar with the program. “The parole office in El Monte gets about 20 referrals each month, but only two or three actually get accepted because of the criteria and the person’s individual history.” Luna said he had heard of no criminal problems associated with the participants. Gordon Porter, program manager at the Central San Gabriel Valley Resource Center, said an estimate he had given to this newspaper about the number of ex-felons served by the center – about 80 a month – had been too high. “It is about half that,” said Porter, adding that in addition to the parole office, the center gets ex-convicts referred to it from the Employment Development Department office in West Covina as well as veterans groups. “Some people come in off the street, and tell us they have a record,” Porter said. “We help everybody who needs a job, and our special-needs group is only representative of about 10 percent of our funding.” For those who are not referred by the parole office, Porter said the center has its own criteria as to who is allowed to apply for services. “We have a child center here, so we have a prohibition against anyone with sex offenses against children,” Porter said. “We have not gotten any negative feedback on any of the people we have placed. These are people who need a second chance, and in fact they have a higher job-retention rate than some of the others we place.” Luna said that the center’s job is an important one. “They are trying to get these people back into mainstream society,” Luna said, “and in a position where they can have a stable job and stay out of jail.” Luna said the office only gets referrals for individuals convicted within its jurisdiction, which includes El Monte, South El Monte and Baldwin Park. [email protected] (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2306160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!