Sunday, December 21, 2014

IVI-IPO questionnaire: Civil Rights

I'm on a roll. Crib away. But also leave answers you feel strongly about in comments, so your ideas can spread like "kawaii" cat videos.

97. Do you support affirmative action based on race, gender and sexual orientation in establishing criteria for hiring and promoting public employees?

Possible answer:

I support affirmative action in hiring and promotion. At this point Chicago is a multi-ethnic city.

City hiring and promotions should reflect the demographics of Chicago. African-Americans were 32.9% of Chicago in 2010 Census, Latinos & Hispanics were 28.9% of the population, Asian were 5.5%, mixed ethnicity were 2.7% and Native Americans were 0.5%. Whites were 31.7%, which includes a large number of immigrants.

Chicago has an obligation to provide quality services to non-English speakers too.

I do believe affirmative action programs do need to be scrutinized and kept up-to-date.

For example, increased hiring of Black and Latinos in some city departments does not make-up for under-representation in other departments, eg Chicago Police Department. This NYT article says Chicago PD is 55% White while Chicago is 32% White.

The City of Chicago should also be cognizant of the hiring practices of companies hired to provide services as part of privatization deals. All privatization deals should have hard requirements to reflect the demographics of Chicago.

98. Do you support affirmative action as a criteria in letting city contracts?
Possible answer:

I am more skeptical of affirmative action in awarding contracts than in hiring and promotion of individuals.

I am concerned that affirmative action in contracting can be manipulated for corrupt purposes, eg phony ownership arrangements.

It makes more sense to me to pay attention to the hiring and promotion practices of the contractor than the demographic information of the person who nominally owns the company.

99. Please comment on current participation of individuals with disabilities in city hiring and contracts.
Possible answer:

Chicago needs to be inclusive of people with disabilities. All of us will likely be disabled at some point in life. I want to have compassion and provide opportunities.

One way Chicago could be more inclusive of people with disabilities would be to focus on hiring disabled veterans.

I would favor emulating programs to include disabled that have been shown to work in other cities or in federal hiring.

100. Please comment on current women and minority participation in city hiring and contracts. Be sure your comments include firefighter and police officer recruitment and promotion.

Possible answer:

This is really two questions. Women and minority contracting is a separate issue from hiring and promotion in police and fire departments.

I favor affirmative action in contracting so that women and minority firms get included.

I would like to expand these programs in multiple ways.

One, Chicago should take into account the hiring and promotion within the firms. Being a woman owned business should be worth points, but if the company has a poor record of hiring and promoting women and minorities should this business have preference over a business over a White guy firm that has diversity in hiring and promotion?

Two, the affirmative action should take into account the total dollar value of city contracting. Say the city has 100 contracts for $100 million. Giving 30 of the contracts to African-American owned firms sounds pretty good, but if the contracts are only worth $4 million total, that's not really spreading the wealth fairly, is it?

Three, there should be set asides for firms that have not contracted with the City of Chicago before. The city should be looking for new vendors. Government contracts should be a path for new contractors to grow.

Both Chicago Police Department and Chicago Fire Department should be held accountable for bring their demographics into alignment with Chicago's Census data. I am not satisfied that either department has made sufficient effort to hire and retain Blacks, Latinos or Asian-Americans.

101. Do you favor restructuring the wage scale of city employees to institute gender-equal pay for jobs of comparable worth?

Possible answer:

I support equity in pay based on gender. I support fixes that have been shown to work in other places.

But much of the inequity is built into government jobs. To become a police officer requires a high school diploma. To become a teacher requires at least a bachelors degree plus a teacher certification (which requires significant time student teaching). Cops start at $43K but move up to $65K after 18 months (with overtime potential). Teachers start slightly under $49K but have to go from step 1 to step 8 before they break $66K.

The big gains in gender equality will come from raising the compensation levels of professions that are dominated by women.

102. Will you vote to require all City vendors and contractors to provide spousal benefits for same-sex partners of their employees?
Possible answer:

Same sex marriage is marriage. I would be disinclined to allow contractors to bid for work if they have resisted providing benefits to their married employees.

103. Will you vote for the Municipal ID ordinance? 
Possible answer:

I would support Chicago implementing a municipal ID card to make services available regardless of immigration status. I prefer this to be handled by State of Illinois since the state is already in the business of issuing drivers licenses and state ID cards.

I am concerned that creating ID cards that exist primarily for immigrants who cannot meet requirements for other forms of ID creates a class that can be informally be discriminated against.

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