New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s commitment for the full inclusion of Latinos in his appointments continues to fall short and is, in fact, declining over time. An analysis of the Administration’s publicly-announced appointments reveals that since January, de Blasio’s cumulative share of Latino appointments has plummeted from a high of 26 percent in January down to 12 percent this month. At 12 percent of de Blasio’s total appointments to date, Latinos remain the most underrepresented group in his Administration in comparison with their 25 percent share of the city’s civilian labor force.
In comparison to the city’s other major racial-ethnic groups, Latinos remain the most underrepresented community in city government both in terms of appointments and overall employment. The 2,4 million Latinos living in New York City make up 29 percent of its population and 25 percent of its civilian labor force. But they are only 20 percent of the overall municipal workforce and only 12 percent of de Blasio appointees..
In what has been widely viewed as the most diverse group of Mayoral appointees, non-Latino Whites, make up 61 percent of the de Blasio appointments to date, despite representing only 33 percent of the city’s population. Blacks, significantly overrepresented in municipal jobs in comparison to their share of the city’s population, are also underrepresented in de Blasio appointments. The Asian population, although significantly underrepresented in overall city government employment, are achieving near parity with their population share in de Blasio appointments.
In terms of policymaking job titles, Latino appointees make up less than 13 percent of the total. In those positions where Latinos are well represented (Deputy Mayors and Chiefs of Staff), appointments in these titles have been limited to three o4 positions in total. In all others, Latinos are underrepresented, and in two titles — President and Senor/Special Advisor — there are no Latino appointments.
One area where progress is being made in the Latino appointments is the large share of women occupying these positions. Among all the major racial-ethnic groups, Latino appointments included the most women (65 percent, and along with Asians the majority of the appointments made. In contrast, the appointment of non-Latino White women was the lowest (38 percent).
In the table below, we list the 26 Latino appointments that we would identify from public announcements made by the de Blasio Administration:
The election of Bill de Blasio as Mayor of the City of New York and the strong support he received from Latino voters, raised expectations that two decade of Latino exclusion from leadership positions in city government under the Giuliani-Bloomberg Administration would finally come to an end. However, Mayor de Blasio’s record to date has raised serious concerns in the Latino community about his Administration’s commitment to being fully inclusive.
Efforts by Latino community advocates to express these concerns directly to Mayor de Blasio have been ignored. In response, the Administration has held a couple of pro forma meeting with Latino community representatives in which they ignored recommendations that were proposed to them to address this problem of Latino underrepresentation, both in appointments and general municipal employment. One response to these concerns was the hiring of a Latina in the Mayor’s Office of Appointments in a low-level post that, as the record shows, has not been effective.
It is interesting to note that of the latest 24 appointments made by Mayor de Blasio, only one was a Latino and that was to an advisory committee. Of the 16 appointments made to that Mayor’s Advisory Committee on the Judiciary, it is significant that only one Latino was included. This clearly points to the almost complete lack of the Administration’s commitment to the full inclusion of the Latino.
The apparently forced removal of Rafael Piñeiro as First Deputy Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (NYPD) has raised concerns about the lack of significant Latino representation in the NYPD’s leadership. Although about a quarter of the Police Department staff is Latino, only 6 percent are in that department’s policymaking positions. With the issues raised by the Eric Garner case and the controversy over stop-and-frisk, the absence of members of close to a third of the city’s population from police leadership is deeply troubling.
The failure of Mayor de Blasio to directly address these issues of concern to the Latino community, one of his largest constituencies, is in sharp contrast with his rhetoric of inclusion and the priority he assigns to combating income inequality. The problem with continuing to ignore this program of Latino underrepresentation is that as the Latino population continues to grow, this disparity will also continue to grow. What today is a solvable public policy issue could become a major political problem for the Mayor when he run for reelection. While he is willing to travel thousands of miles to pontificate about his efforts at addressing income inequality, it doesn’t make sense that he willfully ignores this problem back home.
The NiLP Network on Latino Issues is a nonpartisan information service provided by the National Institute for Latino Policy (NiLP). For further information, visit www.latinopolicy.org.