Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 4

African American Heritage Network

A City of Austin Affinity and Employee Network Group


P.O. Box 6453, Austin, TX, 78762-6453

An Open Letter to the Austin City Council:


April 13, 2016

Dear Austin Mayor Adler and members of the City Council,


We write this letter in on behalf of the membership of the City of Austins African
American Heritage Network (AAHN), in regards to the state of African American
employees at the City of Austin. Specifically, we would like to address five key issues:

Councils treatment of African American Executives


Pay disparities of African American Employees
Cultural Sensitivity and Diversity issues
Unequal representation at various departments
Lack of attendance at Black History Program

During your tenure as elected officials, we have observed a clear level of disdain
in your treatment of African American executives. We have witnessed African American
executives being criticized, reprimanded and insulted from the dais. While we
understand that this behavior is often demonstrated by the minority of Council, the
majority does not speak out against it. To observers, your silence suggests the behavior
is tolerated. We are concerned about the message this sends to the general public.
As one example of your treatment of African American executives, we would
direct your attention to your response toward the March 2015 training as compared to
Councils response to the highly offensive satirical map incident. We believe that
Councils action of holding a press conference about the March 2015 training heighten
the level of concern that directly influenced the resignation of former Assistant City
Manager Anthony Snipes. In comparison, Council did not hold a press conference to
heighten the highly controversial map incident that ultimately received national attention
due to its insensitive and offensive nature. While this is just one example, we would like
to publically express our concern.
After reviewing City of Austin workplace data and trends, based on pay,
classification and representation of African-American employees within the City of
Austin as compared to other ethnic groups, we were alarmed at the pay disparities, lack

of diversity and unequal representation of minorities at various City departments, see


attachment. Recently, media outlets, employee groups and Council have spoken
publically about their concerns with women in the workplace. While this issue concerns
us, it doesnt address the fact that African American men are the lowest paid in the City
of Austin, according to the median non-sworn salary. See Table A (data pulled April
2015), source: City of Austin Corporate Human Resources Department.
Table A- African American (non-sworn) men are among the lowest paid.
Non-Sworn
Ethnicity
Asian/Pacific Islander
White
American Indian/Aleutian
Other
Black
Hispanic
All

M
137
2608
23
15
912
1656
5351

Count
F
155
1598
16
14
490
1059
3332

All
292
4206
39
29
1402
2715
8683

M
$37.92
$32.47
$28.94
$27.72
$24.79
$25.02
$28.97

Average
F
$33.31
$29.59
$34.82
$29.62
$27.04
$24.15
$27.69

All
$35.47
$31.38
$31.35
$28.64
$25.58
$24.68
$28.47

M
$37.28
$30.19
$29.14
$21.49
$21.26
$21.91
$25.96

Median
F
$32.50
$26.78
$31.95
$31.75
$23.94
$22.04
$24.60

All
$35.12
$28.81
$29.58
$25.59
$22.32
$21.96
$25.37

In the past year, our organization has received anonymous complaints 1 related to
professional development trainings and/or cultural events that weve hosted, concerns
from supervisors and management regarding employees attending the Annual Black
History event, and criticism from other employees that question the existence or need
for our organization. These issues are a direct reflection of the lack of cultural sensitivity
and appreciation for diversity that exist throughout our workforce.
We were also disappointed when neither the Mayor, nor any other member of the
City Council attended the 2016 Black History Program. This event was scheduled early
2015. For some of our members that work in Departments such as: Public Works,
Austin Resource Recovery, Austin Convention Center and Austin 3-1-1, this is the one
time that they get an opportunity to meet and greet their Council Members. As our
elected officials, we would like to extend an invitation for your attendance at next years
event, scheduled for February 7, 2017, 11am, Palmer Event Center.
In closing, we are requesting that you draft a resolution directing the City
Manager to work with the African American Heritage Network to address these five key
issues that includes a survey of the African American workforce. The quality of life of
African American employees should be held to the same regard as the quality of life of
African Americans within the Austin community.

Complaints were fully investigated by the Human Resources Department and determined to be unfounded.

Sincerely,
The African-American Heritage Network Executive Committee and members

Carla Johnson
Carla Johnson, Chair
Carla.Johnson@austintexas.gov
512-974-6438

Candice Cooper
Candice Cooper, Vice Chair
Candice.cooper@austintexas.gov
512-974-3621

XC:

Marc Ott, City Manager


Mark Washington, Assistant City Manager
The African American Resource Advisory Commission

Attachment

Note: The City of Austin African American Heritage Network (AAHN) is an affinity and
employee group founded in 2003. Our vision is to remember and celebrate our history,
serve fellow employees, and support our community. The goal of the African American
Heritage Network (AAHN) is to promote cultural and social awareness by providing a
network for City of Austin African American employees to exchange experiences, ideas
and interests that may enhance their personal and professional development. In
addition to hosting the annual Black History Program, AAHN sponsors seminars,
trainings, group discussions, and speaker series to name a few.

Demographics by Department
As of March 21, 2016; includes total employees and sworn personnel