Aldermen Skeptical Proposed Diversity Officer Will Impact City Hiring
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposed 2017 budget includes money for a chief diversity officer, a new position aimed at increasing minority hiring.
But some aldermen said they are skeptical the position would have any impact.
Many Latino and African-American aldermen routinely complain about the lack of diversity among city employees or companies that contract with City Hall.
The chief diversity officer would be in the Human Resources Department and would be solely devoted to increasing minority hiring, according to the administration.
Ald. Leslie Hairston, 5th, said bias exists throughout the city, and the new position is not going to fix that problem.
“It is because of a lack of a will to want to diversify the workforce that this happens, so creating an additional position that does nothing, as many businesses do, does nothing to increase the numbers” Hairston said.
“Just like we found the same bias in the police department. Just like we found the same bias in the fire department. This is Chicago’s history.”
Though Hairston later added she was not against hiring this officer.
Human Resources Commissioner Soo Choi said the new position could help assess problems among all city hiring.
Lauren Chooljian is WBEZ's City Hall reporter. You can follow her at @laurenchooljian.