• August 27, 2014

Local city government executive posts lack diversity

Only one minority currently holds high position in Killeen, Heights and Cove

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Posted: Sunday, July 28, 2013 4:30 am | Updated: 3:35 pm, Tue Jul 30, 2013.

In cities like Killeen, where the council reflects its population’s diverse racial makeup, often the people running the city do not.

The Daily Herald confirmed this week that out of the top 45 government executives in Killeen, Harker Heights and Copperas Cove, only one is a person of a minority race.

City executives — those within one rung of power from the city manager’s office — receive the highest salaries and have the most responsibility of all city employees.

Killeen’s population is 34 percent non-Hispanic white, 34 percent African-American and 22 percent Hispanic, according to the 2010 Census.

However, after requests made by the Daily Herald through the Texas Public Information Act, Killeen officials refused to answer questions about race.

“I do not know, nor would I presume to know anyone’s ethnicity or gender but my own,” said Hilary Shine, the city’s executive director of public information.

But neighboring cities responded.

According to officials, Harker Heights has 18 Caucasian executives and Copperas Cove has one minority in a top leadership position: a Hispanic finance director.

Diverse opportunities

In the past nine months, Killeen lost two minority executives, former human resources director Debbie Maynor — an African-American — and former finance director Barbara Gonzales — a Hispanic.

Throughout that same time period, the city hired four white executives.

In the coming fiscal year, Killeen may see two vacancies in executive positions. Maynor’s post is open, and the city could be looking to hire a new executive director of community services, if the council approves the budget as proposed by staff.

Best qualified

Rosa Hereford, who in 1984 was the first woman and the second African-American to be elected to the Killeen City Council, said hiring minorities in upper-level city management positions in Killeen has been a problem for some time.

“I don’t know how the city is advertising these positions, but the fact is we don’t have African-American executives,” Hereford said.

“I think the city should make an effort to have a representation of its population.”

Hiring candidates based solely on their race is unreasonable, but diversity in city government is an important goal to have, Hereford said.

“We are not talking about quotas; we are talking about an effort to show that you are hiring minorities,” she said.

TaNeika Driver-Moultrie, president of Killeen chapter of the NAACP, said she wanted to know who applied to the recent executive openings.

“I don’t think any city looks for a certain race to apply,” Driver-Moultrie said.

Although they might not be city executives, Killeen has many African-Americans in management positions, including Brett Williams, Killeen’s director of Parks and Recreation, Driver-Moultrie said.

“You may have a secretary who may be a leader and she has just as much value and leadership on the staff,” she said.

Parks and recreation director is not considered an executive position in Killeen because the department falls under the community services wing.

Women in workplace

One place where of all three local cities have continued to show diversity is in the employment of women in powerful places.

While they don’t hold as many top positions as men, women are filling more leadership roles in local government.

Two of the four executives hired in Killeen are women: Ann Farris is an assistant city manager and Martie Simpson is finance director.

Copperas Cove City Manager Andrea Gardner is the top executive in the largest city in Coryell County.

Gardner, 43, was hired in September 2007 after a career in the private sector, managing mergers and acquisitions at New York Life, a national life insurance company.

She said in the private sector, she worked with just as many female executives as male executives.

“I found it to be very equal in the private sector, whereas you don’t see very many females in management positions in the public sector,” Gardner said.

Despite being one of few female executives in local government, Gardner has never been discouraged from obtaining leadership roles.

“I have never had anyone say to me, ‘You can’t do this because you are female,’” Gardner said.

While working in the private sector, Gardner said many of her co-workers discouraged her move into government because of the restrictions and public scrutiny associated with government jobs.

“Government gets a bad rap,” Gardner said. “There is less interest on the parts of individuals because of the political aspect that comes with it.”

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12 comments:

  • jbtsr posted at 11:09 pm on Sun, Jul 28, 2013.

    jbtsr Posts: 70

    Great article - good issues. I would love for you to come to Belton - this is Deep South over here. I bet they would shut the door on you or stammer around trying to explain why it is thw way it is. They have that old mentality. I cannot say enough but invite you to report on Belton on this same issue.

     
  • Max67 posted at 9:50 pm on Sun, Jul 28, 2013.

    Max67 Posts: 63

    If you read the facts, you would know the people who committed all the theft were kept on (guess their primary demographics)?

    The individual let go (Finance Director, Barbara Gonzales) who was not tied to any theft, was a minority and was let go for telling on the city manager for ethics and law violations, who is not a minority, but has committed numerous improprieties, including costing the taxpayers over $30,000 to pay off his employee and admitted girlfriend of 14 yrs. to keep her quiet about the things he's done. The only reason he could come up w/ for terminating her was "past issues" of which he did not have a SHRED of documentation. He was also told she should be reinstated by the personnel hearing board who did hear the facts.

    The other individual who was not tied to any theft, but who was forced to retire (Kim Randall) was also a stellar employee, but was a female and also supportive of the rules being followed. She retired - so she could not appeal her forced retirement.

    The male Caucasian (John Acker), who, if you read the facts, did not "steal" anything, told on the cop (during an interview w/ the KPD in charge of the investigation) for stealing (the cop who later admitted to stealing because he did not know it was against the rules). The cop was a caucasian male. He wasn't even written up, but was orally counseled, since the police chief - in charge of the investigation - thought it wasn't fair, w/ him not knowing the rules about stealing city resources. The employee who reported his theft, however. John Acker, was terminated. Upon hearing the facts, the board also ruled he should be rehired.

    The most qualified should hold the positions, but that's not what's happening. As the workforce has gotten less diverse, it also happens to have gotten less qualified and more permissive of unethical conduct (and limited to the click of staff who have been known to overlook - and benefit from - Glenn's transgressions).

     
  • uncommonsnese posted at 8:43 pm on Sun, Jul 28, 2013.

    uncommonsnese Posts: 1

    Ge, No Diversity in the city Government. but your last minorities were relieved for ethical conduct and poor performance. Government is not the place to try out new programs to see if you can teach ethics and morals. If your city government dont come with them then dont complain. IF you are inept or not qualified dont bother applying. Look at Detroit. There is a fine example of diversity in action. You want a shot at government, then be prepared and qualified. Dont show up just because you another color and expect to know how to manage budgets, and personnel when you have no idea in the first place.

     
  • Bubba posted at 6:16 pm on Sun, Jul 28, 2013.

    Bubba Posts: 681

    The whole problem is that government should be a meritocracy, not an affirmative action, equal opportunity, good-ole-boy, or nepotism driven entity. Regardless of sex or race.

     
  • Eliza posted at 5:07 pm on Sun, Jul 28, 2013.

    Eliza Posts: 714

    Number of top executives /Killeen:
    Women Men White Hispanic African-American Asian
    4 12 16 0 0 0


    Population’s ethnic diversity Entity/Killeen
    White African-American Hispanic American Indian Asian Pacific Islander
    34% 34% 22% 0.8% 4% 1%

     
  • Eliza posted at 2:32 pm on Sun, Jul 28, 2013.

    Eliza Posts: 714

    @ “I do not know, nor would I presume to know anyone’s ethnicity or gender but my own,” said Hilary Shine, the city’s executive director of public information.
    -------------
    Is this the same city public information spokesperson, who received the $10,000 a year pay increase, as stated in Barbara Gonzales' whistle blowers law suit against the city. Having her earn near a $100,000 a year,
    And she doesn't know if someone working for the city is male or female? She doesn't know if they are Black,Hispanic or White?
    Couldn't she have figured that out just at face value from coming in contact with other employees ? Or was it safer to just say,
    'I don know'.

    I don't think myself any org. Walmart or a city should take anyone as an employee for race or gender basis only, but who is the better for the job and the company.
    However, For Killeen to have a 34=34=10 population mixture of black / white /hispanic population,
    it is unusual there would only be 1 ethnic employee working for the city in a executive position.
    It makes anyone wonder why.
    I too would like to know who did apply for the last jobs filled.

     
  • Max67 posted at 1:56 pm on Sun, Jul 28, 2013.

    Max67 Posts: 63

    @Texasgoat - seems you would almost have to be living in a cave to be unaware of what a poor job C of K mgt. is doing. Have you read none of the articles about the mismanagement, personal scandals buried w/ taxpayer dollars, and violations of law on the part of the city manager for his own benefit?

    Having the most qualified employees should be the top priority. However, I think it's clear that we don't have that. As we saw with the promotion of Martie Simpson, previously considered "not the best candidate for the Finance Director position," who was promoted to that position simply because she was the only internal applicant (City of Killeen employee who applied for the position).

    Given all the ethics issues and violations, City of Killeen mgt.. is afraid to go outside of their own internal group of staff who have been proven to be willing to sacrifice their values and job responsibilities to please the city manager & allow him to operate contrary to the rules.

    A diverse executive mgt. team would allow for different perspectives and enable staff to refuse to accept the old status quo, which is currently a system filled w/ pervasive corruption, mismanagement, and shortcomings, especially w/ respect to the governing law and requirements.

     
  • Max67 posted at 1:56 pm on Sun, Jul 28, 2013.

    Max67 Posts: 63

    @Texasgoat - seems you would almost have to be living in a cave to be unaware of what a poor job C of K mgt. is doing. Have you read none of the articles about the mismanagement, personal scandals buried w/ taxpayer dollars, and violations of law on the part of the city manager for his own benefit?

    Having the most qualified employees should be the top priority. However, I think it's clear that we don't have that. As we saw with the promotion of Martie Simpson, previously considered "not the best candidate for the Finance Director position," who was promoted to that position simply because she was the only internal applicant (City of Killeen employee who applied for the position).

    Given all the ethics issues and violations, City of Killeen mgt.. is afraid to go outside of their own internal group of staff who have been proven to be willing to sacrifice their values and job responsibilities to please the city manager & allow him to operate contrary to the rules.

    A diverse executive mgt. team would allow for different perspectives and enable staff to refuse to accept the old status quo, which is currently a system filled w/ pervasive corruption, mismanagement, and shortcomings, especially w/ respect to the governing law and requirements.

     
  • Baylor posted at 1:40 pm on Sun, Jul 28, 2013.

    Baylor Posts: 133

    And again, who cares? Been here since the 60s, probably the fastest cars in Texas, the coldest beer anywhere and a fricking zoo on every corner. I love Killeen. Temple has the hospitals and we got the trailer houses, that will never change. Those council folks are doing ok, it's a rugged military town man! Don't speed and the cops will leave you alone, pay your water bill and the city won't shut off your water, mow your yard and the inspectors will leave you alone. What more could you ask for?

     
  • OldWoman posted at 1:15 pm on Sun, Jul 28, 2013.

    OldWoman Posts: 28

    Thanks for a good laugh, Texas Goat and Proud Mother. Looks like the Good Ole Boy network to me. Has anyone looked at how many discrimination complaints have been filed at the city of Killeen in the last two years, internally and all the way up to the federal level?

     
  • texasgoat posted at 7:54 am on Sun, Jul 28, 2013.

    texasgoat Posts: 48

    Seem s that the present makeup of the council is doing a pretty good job of running the city.

     
  • Proud Mother of an Army Avi8er posted at 7:53 am on Sun, Jul 28, 2013.

    Proud Mother of an Army Avi8er Posts: 212

    Diversity is great, but should not trump the best one qualified for a position.

    So maybe, the people that are in the top government executive positions are the most qualified!