Despite a pledge he made when he took office in 2002 to make diversity a hallmark of his administration, New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has consistently surrounded himself with a predominantly white and male coterie of key policy makers, according to an analysis of personnel data by The New York Times.
The city’s non-Hispanic white population is now 35 percent, because of an influx of nonwhite immigrants and other demographic changes in the past two decades.
Since the 1990 census, the city’s non-Hispanic white population has dropped to 35 percent, from 43 percent. And that change is reflected in the overall city government work force, which dropped from 46 percent white in 1994 to 38 percent in 2008.
But Mr. Bloomberg presides over an administration in which more than 70 percent of the senior jobs are held by whites, and he has failed to improve on the oft-criticized diversity record of former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani.
“Obviously, it demonstrates no greater commitment under Bloomberg than there was under Giuliani in appointing minorities to high-level positions in government,” said Abraham May Jr., executive director of the city’s Equal Employment Practices Commission, an independent agency that monitors diversity and discrimination in city government.
Moreover, New York lags behind the three cities closest to its population in diversifying its senior ranks.
In Los Angeles, 52 percent of the top advisers to Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa are white; in Chicago, that figure is 61 percent for Mayor Richard M. Daley; and in Houston, it is 55 percent for Mayor Annise D. Parker.
“The numbers – they’re sad,” said Kevin P. Johnson, a former assistant commissioner of the Department of Correction, who was responsible for equal-employment policies, but quit in December because he was frustrated by the administration’s efforts. “It’s terrible in a city with such a large minority population.”
Diversity, of course, is one of the most delicate issues and hardest goals to achieve in any workplace. Many employers want a workplace, especially in the public sector, that has highly qualified managers who reflect the broader community and can engage in a vigorous exchange of ideas by people of different backgrounds.
So failing to name minority employees to high-level positions, time after time, not only can dampen employee morale, but also send a message that an employer is insensitive or indifferent, according to political analysts and human resources professionals.
In addition to their demographic similarity, many of the recent appointees fall into two broad categories: former Wall Street executives and loyalists from City Hall or the mayor’s re-election campaign.
“Given Bloomberg’s background, we shouldn’t really be surprised,” said Bruce F. Berg, a political scientist at Fordham University who has studied racial diversity in New York City government. “He’s picking from the business world, his key advisers are from the business world, and this is still very much a white male bastion.”
The homogeneous composition of the administration is especially striking in crucial areas where city personnel deal with issues predominantly affecting minority residents, like education, homelessness and child welfare.
Continue to the full article at The New York Times website.