Boston: Increasing Diversity

This week, the Council adopted a resolution to support increasing diversity and expanding opportunities for Boston municipal employees of color.

In 2022, the Boston City Council enacted the Fair Chance Act to ensure that all municipal employees have a fair opportunity for career advancement. According to the demographics dashboard, as of May of 2024, white employees make up 57.5% of the total workforce and 53% of the top earners across all Boston City departments. Even in departments with large percentages of employees of color, the top earners in said departments are predominantly white, such as the Cemetery Division, of which 53.57% of the total workforce are Black and Brown but only make up 30% of the top 10 earners.

The Council hosted a hearing on May 29th, 2024, and received overwhelming testimony from municipal employees, including employees of Boston Public Schools and the Boston Police Department, who expressed the detrimental impact that promotional practices, as well as hiring and firing protocols, have had on their social, emotional, mental, and financial well-being.

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The resolution states that, "across Boston City departments, there have been numerous lawsuits and high-profile cases, including a $2.6 million settlement in a longstanding federal discrimination lawsuit alleging that a "hair test" used by the Boston Police Department disproportionately affected officers of color. Boston Public Schools is currently facing lawsuits over allegations of disproportionately placing administrators of color on leave and subjecting them to investigatory meetings, aiming to either terminate them or compel their resignation."

The resolution further states that it is the responsibility of the Council to "ensure that the City of Boston recognizes and affirms the importance of exercising its power to ensure that diversity and equity are reflected across all levels of leadership and that hiring, firing, and promotion policies, practices, and procedures are absent of any discriminatory practices."

Filed Under: Government, City

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