City to dig deeper into diversity issue

Commission directs manager to seek out companies for employment survey

BY DAYTONA TIMES STAFF

The Daytona Beach City Commission moved a step closer last night to addressing the lack of racial diversity within the city’s workforce following complaints from residents and the local NAACP branch president.

Cynthia Slater, president of the Volusia-Daytona Beach Branch of the NAACP, had asked the commission to consider an independent evaluation to address the morale of employees and the culture at the city.  For months, Slater and other residents have appeared before the commission questioning the city’s hiring and promotional process.

The commission voted 7-0 on Wednesday night to direct City Manager Jim Chisholm to seek information from research companies that conduct independent surveys and have that information available by the end of February.

The vote came after a diversity update by Human Resources Director James Sexton.  Wednesday night’s report came from a new, detailed 49-page diversity report, which was a follow-up to a preliminary report he presented at the Dec. 2 commission meeting.

Pay percentages
The new report shows that a City of Daytona Beach workforce diversity analysis reflects that 124 employees earn an annual base pay between $60,000 and $100,000.  Of that number, 21 percent of those are racial minorities – not limited to African-Americans – and 24 percent are female.

The analysis also shows that 25 workers earn an annual base pay greater than $100,000. Of that number, 24 percent are minorities and 24 percent are female.

At the December meeting, it was revealed that while the City of Daytona Beach’s Black population is 35.4 percent, only 18.7 percent of the municipality’s workforce is Black. The city’s total minority workforce stands at 25 percent.

Departmental breakdown
Sexton also pointed out in December that over the past two years, just 33 percent of the job applicants were racial minorities. The city has about 800 employees.

Wednesday night’s report showed a breakdown of minorities in each department. Here are the percentages of minorities working in the city’s major departments:
City Manager: 27 percent
Human Resources: 27 percent
City Attorney: 27 percent
City Clerk: 50 percent
Development Services: 34 percent
Leisure Services: 53 percent
Finance Department: 29 percent
Fire Department: 17 percent
Police Department: 24 percent
Public Works Department: 22 percent
Utilities: 22 percent

The city recently hired the Rev. L. Ronald Durham as a full-time employee earning $75,000 per year as asset management director/special projects. In this capacity, he will perform community outreach and other special projects assigned by Chisholm.

Slater: Create survey
At Wednesday night’s meeting, Slater said she had glanced at the 49-page report and said she was disappointed that there was not a workshop on it and it didn’t include a summary. She then asked for a meeting with Chisholm and said she wants to see an independent evaluator hired to create and conduct an employee satisfaction survey.

“The results could provide an opportunity to influence change in the city,’’ she noted. Chisholm agreed to meet with her.

In a series of recent stories, the Daytona Times reported on Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) claims filed against the city that charge racial discrimination.

Employees who have filed EEOC complaints against the city have stated that fear of retaliation was a factor in their decision to come forward. In December, Sexton said that the city had received eight formal EEOC complaints in the past five years, and two were active.

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