NYC Mayor de Blasio’s Latino Appointments: Despite Slight Uptick, Latinos Remain Most Underrepresented

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Bill de Blasio

NEW YORK, July 19, 2015 – York’s Largest Spanish Weekly Newspaper -By Angelo Falcón – Since assuming office in January 2013, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio established a poor and worsened record of Latino appointments. His first appointments were of some high-level Latinos that included the Schools Chancellor, the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, and the Commissioner of the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS). Since that first month, however, there was a steady decline in the rate of Latino appointments, reaching a low of 10 percent this past March. This current update found that, as of July 19, 2015, after much community pressure, there was a slight uptick of Latino representation in de Blasio appointments of Latinos to 12 percent. However, with Latinos making up 29 percent of the city’s population and 25 percent of its labor force, they remain by far the single most underrepresented group in the de Blasio Administration.

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This NiLP Latino Datanote is the latest in a series of reports on Mayor de Blasio’s record of Latino appointments. These include reports issued on the following dates: November 26, 2013, February 26, 2014, September 25, 2014, November 17, 2014, and March 19, 2015. The National Institute for Latino Policy has also been functioning as the technical advisor to the community-based Campaign for Fair Latino Representation, and has developed a series of recommendations for changes in the city’s equal employment and diversity programs that would better promote Latino inclusion. These recommendations are published on the Campaign’s website.

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This extreme underrepresentation of Latinos raises some troubling questions about Mayor de Blasio’s definition of “diversity” and the effect his actions are having in marginalizing the role of the Latino community his Administration. Whether the result of a conscience policy or simply of benign neglect by Mayor de Blasio, the results are the same and continue a long-term reality of Latino exclusion from New York City government. Besides the problems this presents municipal government in terms of the absence of Latino voices in the policymaking process and culturally insensitive services, this loss of income from public service employment also removes a resource to which other racial and ethnic groups in the city have historically had access.

This study of Mayor de Blasio’s appointments is based on those hires that were publicly announced, either through the news releases from the Office of the Mayor and the general media. This was made necessary because the de Blasio Administration has refused to provide us with a complete list of his appointments. The approach we use of basing our analysis on publicly announced appointments is useful in that it indicates positions that the Mayor feels are most important since they are largely are policymaking positions.

Since January 2014, we were able to identify 425 appointments. Of these, the vast majority (62 percent) were of Whites, despites the city’s non-Hispanic White population making up only 33.3 percent of the city’s population. Latinos, on the other hand, made up only 12 percent of the de Blasio appointments, despite making up 29 percent of the city’s population.

 

As the graph below shows, Latinos are by far the most underrepresented group in Mayor de Blasio’s Administration. Comparing the share of a group’s appointments with its share of the city’s population is done to provide a measure of the degree of disparity involved, not to make a case for population parity. It is clear from this chart that Whites are hugely overrepresented in the de Blasio appointments, while communities of color are underrepresented. However, even in comparison with Blacks and Asians, Latinos remain the most underrepresented despite representing a larger population.

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Mayor de Blasio’s appointments during his first 19 months in office were about evenly split between those for paid positions and those for board and commission memberships. In the Latino case, we found a high level of underrepresentation in both types of appointments, as illustrated in the charts below.

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In terms of gender equity, there has been a significant change over time in the male-female mix of the de Blasio appointments. In our earlier analysis before March, we found that women were significantly overrepresented, especially among the few Latino appointments, but women were significantly underrepresented among Whites. Our current analysis reveals that while it is still the case that women outnumber men in the Asian appointments, women reverted to minority status among the appointments made of Latinos, Blacks and Whites. The underrepresentation of women, moreover, remains higher for Whites than the other groups.

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To get a better sense of the nature of these appointments, we looked at this distribution along selected job titles that implied being at the policymaking level. We found that, except for one category, Whites were hugely overrepresented in 8 of the nine job titles, with Blacks dominating one, and Latinos and Asians none. What stands out is the nebulous Senior/Special Advisor job title, which appears to be mostly reserved for Whites (94 percent).

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We also examined to which agencies Latinos were appointed. There was, first of all, an almost even split between appointments made to the Office of the Mayor and other city agencies. Given that the city’s official Greenbook directory lists 100 city agencies, the Latino appointments so far have been to a small number of total agencies.

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It is also interesting that a relatively large number of Latino appointments have been made to the Mayor’s Community Assistance Unit. This is mostly seen as the political arm of the Mayor’s office that focuses on troubleshooting rather than policy or social services. It would appear that in response to Latino community criticism of his poor record of Latino appointments that the Mayor decided to focus his Latino community criticism management in this one, small agency. In effect, Mayor de Blasio has made his Community Assistance Unit largely into his Hispanic Affairs Office in everything but name.

The pattern of Latino appointments to municipal judgeships was inconsistent. While 4 of the 27 appointments to the Family Court (23.5 [percent) were of Latinos, no Latinos were appointed to judgeships in either the civil or criminal courts.

In terms of appointments by Mayor de Blasio to the city’s boards and commissioners, no Latinos were appointed by him to the following panels:
Tech Talent Advisory Board
Civilian Complaint Review Board
Civil Court Judges
NYC Global Partners
Board of Corrections
Queens Public Library
Business Integrity Commission
CUNY Board of Trustees
Hudson River Park Trust
Landmarks Preservation Commission
Lincoln Center Board
NYC Housing Authority
Also, Latinos only received token representation in de Blasio appointments to the following panels:
third New York City Panel on Climate Change (5.3%)
Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City (6.7%)
Mayor’s Clergy Advisory Council (9.3%)
Mayor’s Advisory Committee on the Judiciary (11.1%)
Below is a listing of the 53 Latinos appointed by Mayor de Blasio between January 2014 and July 2015, as announced in the Mayor’s news releases and the general media.

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The NiLP Report on Latino Policy & Politics is an information service provided by the National Institute for Latino Policy. For further information, visit www.latinopolicy.org. Send comments to editor@latinopolicy.org.

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About the Author

La Voz Hispana NY. New York's largest Spanish weekly newspaper. Official Newspaper of the NYC Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.