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Weak Spots Seen in Santa Monica's Minority Hiring

December 05, 1985|JEFF BURBANK | Times Staff Writer

A new report on Santa Monica's affirmative action program says the city recruited more minorities and women to city jobs last year but must place more in high-level management positions and in the Police and Fire departments to meet the city's hiring goals.

The annual report, sent formally to the City Council last week, said the share of permanent city jobs filled by minorities and women was about the same as last year. Minorities accounted for about 42% of the city's 1,228-person work force and women made up 30%, the report said.

Only two, or 3.1%, of the city's 65 high-level management positions were filled by minorities as of last June, it said. Women and minorities combined made up only 38.4% of the city's 266 Police Department and Fire Department employees, the report said.

When the city began its affirmative action program voluntarily in 1974, its 1,001 employees included 170 (17%) women and 284 (28.4%) minority, compared to 369, (30%) and 517 (42.1%), respectively today, according to Personnel Director John Smith. After a jump in minority hiring during the program's first few years, the city has concerned itself mostly with filling specific positions.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday December 8, 1985 Home Edition Westside Part 9 Page 6 Column 2 Zones Desk 1 inches; 26 words Type of Material: Correction
Because of a typographical error, the percentage of blacks in Santa Monica's city work force was reported as 1.3% in a story in Thursday's Westside Section. The correct figure is 21.3%.

"We're at a refinement stage now where we're attempting to do things like hire a minority as a department manager or a female as a plumber. We don't expect the numbers to fluctuate that much," Smith said

Most of the city's high-level management positions, such as assistant city planner, are held by white males, the report said. Of the city's 65 high-level management positions, 49 (75%) were filled by white men. They also represented two-thirds of the city's police and fire employees. Women make up nearly 90% of the city's paraprofessional and clerical people, it said.

The city should hire and promote more blacks and Latinos for police and fire, professional and high-level management positions, the report said, "since these minority groups remain significantly under-represented in higher-paid and policy-influencing categories."

The report said, however, that the city had met several of the affirmative action goals it set for 1984-85, though increases in minority hiring were relatively slight. The city increased the percentage of Latinos in its work force from 17% to 17.4% and added seven women to the Police and Fire departments, a 1.7% increase from a year before.

Vacancies Projected

With 11 vacancies anticipated on the city's police force in the coming year, the report suggested that women fill eight of the positions, Latinos five and blacks three. It also suggested that women fill two of four openings for firefighters, along with one Latino and one black.

In addition, the report said the city should appoint more women to vacancies in "non-traditional" positions in the male-dominated skilled crafts and service/maintenance areas, including painter, electrician, sanitation collector, carpenter, custodian, harbor guard and mechanic assistant.

City Manager John Jalili said the city has made progress in the last 11 years, particularly in attracting more minority applicants, who made up more than 50% of the applicants for city jobs last year.

"If you look at the application pool, it pretty well represents the (minority) categories," Jalili said. "But it's going to take some time before I can say our goals are met. The trends are there, but we're not there yet." Smith said Santa Monica attracted more women and minority applicants last year after sending bulletins on job vacancies each week to more than 300 social service and other agencies on the Westside. Minorities, he said, represented 51.1% of the applicants for city jobs and 42.1% of the new hires, consistent with their 42% share of the Los Angeles-Long Beach population, according to the 1980 U.S. Census used in Santa Monica for hiring decisions.

The city's affirmative action program, which the city operates without legal obligation, also resulted in a large increase in promotions received by women within city government compared to white males. Nearly 50% of the 123 promotions went to women, while white men received 25%, compared to 33.3% and 48.1% respectively in 1983-84. Male and female minorities received 33% of last years' promotions.

Statewide Comparisons

Comparing Santa Monica with employment averages from 228 other cities in California, the report showed that the city's work force had nearly twice the average percentage of women in professional positions such as administrative analysts and planners, 55.6% to 28.7%. Women also held more than 17% of the city's police and fire positions, compared to 7.2% for the other cities.

The city, however, had no blacks in high-level administrative positions, although blacks made up nearly 5% of those jobs in the other cities. Blacks also held 170 (43.3%) of the city's 393 low-level service and maintenance positions, compared to 30.5% for the other cities.

Jalili said the shortage of blacks in management postions in the city last year was due to the lack of vacancies in those positions and that high percentages of minorities "traditionally" enter such service-type jobs as bus driver.

Blacks make up 10.8% of the Los Angeles-Long Beach area population according to the 1980 Census. As of last June 30, the report said blacks represented 1.3% of the city's employees.

Latinos, who represented 24.4% of the area population in 1980, held 19% of the technical jobs and 26% of the paraprofessional jobs, twice the average in both categories of the other cities surveyed.

The report listed next year's goals as increasing representation of Latinos in the overall work force, women and minorities in the Police and Fire departments, blacks, Latinos and women in official and professional positions, women in skilled craft and maintenance jobs, and disabled people at all levels of government.

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