When it comes to diversity in the upper ranks of city government, Mayor Michael Bloomberg talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk, according to a New York Times report.
His three new deputy mayors and six commissioners are white, and only one is a woman. Overall, Bloomberg presides over an administration in which 70 percent of the senior staffers are white, according to the Times story.
Despite that he made campaign promises to offer more senior opportunities to minorities, he’s sticking to his tried and true coterie of policy makers from the finance world.
“The numbers -- they’re sad,” Kevin P. Johnson, a former assistant commissioner for the Department of Correction, told the Times. “It’s terrible in a city with such a large minority population.”
Johnson quit his job in December because he was responsible for equal-employment practices and was frustrated with the administration’s efforts. New York City is 35 percent white non-Hispanic.
“This is the most diverse city in the world, and to be respected and seen as the mayoral administration of that city, you want to be pushing hard to build a much more diverse pool of people from which to draw expertise,” said Andrew White, director of the Center for New York City Affairs at the New School.
In a city in which the majority of the city government work force is non-white, not having minorities in high-ranking positions can bring down morale, according to human resources professionals the Times interviewed. Administration spokesman Stu Loeser acknowledged the shortcoming, but pointed out that the city has succeeded in recruiting more minorities in its managerial rank and file.
Seventy-nine percent of Bloomberg’s “key members” according to his Web site are white, and 64 percent are men. Yet while Bloomberg’s top-level advisers may not be any more diverse than Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s, the current mayor scores higher points in race relations than his predecessor.
He has been more forthright about race, been a vocal supporter of immigration reform, and met with groups regularly on health care, economic development and quality of life issues, according to the Times.
“Even though minorities may not be filling out the ranks of his cabinet, in proportion to their ranks in the population at large, Bloomberg goes out of his way, on many occasions to assuage minority leaders,” Bruce F. Berg, a political scientist at Fordham University told the paper.