Lawmakers Seek to Secure Equal Opportunity in Civil Service Employment
January 10, 2006

A press conference was held in Albany on Tuesday to shed light on the under representation of minority employment in New York State’s civil service workforce.

It seems that both African and Hispanic New Yorkers are proportionately under represented in New York State’s government agencies and their numbers are declining rapidly according to a recent report from the State Assembly’s Puerto Rican/Hispanic Taskforce. In the report titled, “Hispanics & African American Need not Apply: The Alarming Under-representation of Minorities in the New York State Government Workforce,” the percentage of minorities in the civil service sector has decreased tremendously over the last decade since Governor Pataki has taken office.

The statistics from the report are staggering:

  • Hispanics today make up over 16% of the states population, but account for only 3.8% of the government workforce. Since 1991, over 1,000 Hispanic jobs have been eliminated resulting in a 12% reduction of Hispanic state workers.
  • African Americans have lost over 8,000 jobs resulting in a net decline of 26.7 percent of African Americans in the state workforce. A recent report from the Center of Women in Government and Civil Society has stated that there are more high ranking African American officials in the state government of Alabama, once the epicenter of segregation, then there are currently in New York State.

So what’s being done?

A bill package consisting of legislation targeting inequities of minority hiring in government will be introduced in the Assembly later this week. The proposed package of legislation seeks to:

  • Streamline the process of equal opportunity procedures that are mandated by the Federal Civil Rights Act
  • Prohibits the hiring of temporary and provisional employees of a period greater then 18 months; employees often hired without benefits.
  • Mandates that Affirmative Action Officers shall be hired as competitive classified positions.
  • The creation of a task force to better understand how to increase diversity in the state workforce.
  • Reward employees who speak multiple languages.

Assemblyman William Boyland (D-Kings), both a member of the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus and Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force, a sponsor of the bill package, hopes that these initiatives will help bring traditionally under represented groups in the state workforce back to a level of parity with their counterparts.

“It is sad that in today’s day and age that Hispanics & African Americans in this state still face an uphill battle in attaining equal opportunities in civil service employment,” said Assemblyman William Boyland. “We are taking constructive steps today to insure fair employment opportunities in civil service occupations for our children and their respective children.”

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