A Mitchell man convicted of two felonies 26 years ago has earned city council approval to drive a cab for ride-provider Lyft.

Councilor Susan Tjarks told the council she couldn’t in good conscience vote to approve Joseph Novak’s request after he disclosed the 1992 convictions for kidnapping and attempted murder on his application.  She voiced concerns of a scenario where Novak would drive a woman home from a bar late at night, and if that woman would be safe.

Novak addressed Tjarks concerns stating that he had paid his debt to society.  He invited anyone to check into his behavior while incarcerated and with his previous employees.

He previously worked a year and a half for a taxi company in Sioux Falls with no problems and has spent the last six years working for CHS Farmers Alliance in Mitchell. Novak invited anyone to check with his parole officer and previous employers regarding his history.

City attorney Justin Johnson told the council that Mitchell has no background check requirement in its ordinance and therefore had no recourse to deny the license application.  Novak's application was unanimously approved.


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