Thursday, January 14, 2010

It's The Affirmative Action Policy, Stupid

My conservative Republican friends have been quite worked up about Mayor Greg Ballard's decision to appoint New Yorker Frank Straub as Indianapolis' new Public Safety Director because of his liberal, anti-gun owner views. My objections to his appointment have more to do with his liberal views in general rather than any specific concern that he may seek tougher gun control policies in our city. The answer Straub gave to a question posed by Councilor Bill Oliver about his diversity policies should have sent a shiver up the spine of every believer in the time-tested principle of equal treatment under the law. Shockingly, not a single Republican member of the Public Safety Committee expressed any concern with Straub's comments.

After Straub delivered a drawn out recitation of his resume (how many guys do you know that have had about 20 different jobs in the last 20 years?), Councilor Oliver noted submissions he made to council members boasting about his record on diversity hiring. Oliver, an African-American, asked Straub to share his views with him to make him feel good about supporting him. Oliver prefaced his comments by expressing his disapproval that things were moving too slowly in the Ballard administration in the hiring of minorities in the police and fire departments. Bear in mind that a decades' old consent decree got lifted during the end of the Peterson administration over Mayor Peterson's objection. That decree compelled the Indianapolis police department to undertake affirmative action to increase the number of African-Americans serving in the police department. A short time after the Justice Department lifted the consent decree, it filed suit against the City of Indianapolis claiming that its hiring practices discriminated against white job applicants in favor of minorities. The Ballard administration settled the suit and agreed to hire strictly based upon the ranked order of candidates and end the practice of picking candidates further down the list simply because they were minorities.

Councilor Oliver could not have been more pleased with the response he got from Straub. Straub noted that he had made hiring decisions in the City of New York and White Plains, New York on two different hiring methods. The Rule of Threes approach as he explained required him to select from groups of three qualified candidates based on their order of rank. Straub said he didn't like that approach because minority candidates often would not make the list of three. Straub said he preferred a banding method approach, which allowed him to pick from persons scoring among different scoring groups, such as 90 to 100, 80 to 90 and 70 to 80. In other words, the latter allowed him the flexibility to choose someone with a test score of 75 over someone with a test score of 95 if that's what it took to accomplish hiring a minority candidate. Yes, Frank Straub fully embraces the concept of overtly discriminating against white candidates simply to achieve a favorable hiring decision outcome for a minority candidate.

Some of the more astute readers of this blog will ask, "But what about that Supreme Court decision last year in the New Haven, Connecticut firefighters lawsuit?" The City of New Haven went to great lengths to develop an objective, race-neutral test to use in promoting firefighters with the consultation and support of minority groups. After a group of black ministers complained that the testing discriminated against minorities seeking promotion, in particular African-Americans, city leaders bowed to their pressure and threw out the test results. Several white and Hispanic firefighters, who lost out to promotions they were otherwise qualified to receive under the test results, brought a racial discrimination suit against the city. Justice Kennedy, writing for the majority in Ricci v. City of New Haven, held that an employer must have "a strong basis in evidence" in order to support a race-based determination to avoid disparate impact outcomes. Kennedy found the existence of no strong basis for discarding the test results that clearly were race-neutral simply because it didn't achieve the desired outcome of some to ensure the promotion of minority candidates.

While Straub acknowledged the decision in Ricci, he and the Ballard administration have found a way around the decision. Let's simply do away with objective testing and scoring of candidates for open slots. Yes, you read that correctly. A reliable source tells me that the Ballard administration is quietly putting together a new ordinance that will replace the objective ranking system for hiring police and firefighters with a system that is so subjective that it would be nearly impossible for a white candidate to sue the City based on race discrimination. This proposed ordinance is being fully embraced by City-County Council President Ryan Vaughn, who will likely sponsor the ordinance.

I thought the conservatives won the battle over affirmative action years ago both in the courts and in the court of public opinion. Sadly, Ballard is reintroducing extremely discriminatory hiring policies in the administration of our municipal government for the sake of diversity. The same is true of his contracting policies. Ballard has introduced policies that blatantly discriminate against more qualified white contractors in order that certain politically-connected women and minority-owned businesses can be awarded lucrative contracts. These policies are driving up the cost of public purchasing and construction projects. It does have its advantages for the insiders. The minority contract awarding process facilitates kickbacks and skimming, while proving an extremely effective tool in garnering campaign contributions from city contractors. It's a bit ironic seeing all the people who did everything they could to re-elect Bart Peterson making so much money off the cronyism and unethical practices that are rampant in the Ballard administration. Forget the gun policies, this policy is happening right under our noses and with the full support of key leaders of the Republican Party. Stand up and fight now or there won't be anything worth fighting for when Ballard completes his fluke one term in office.


Citizen Kane said...

I am sure you can thank Olgen Williams and Mayor Ballard's general cluelessness (don't forget who he is married to) for this. Too many people believe that government is supposed to deliver spoils, instead of provide services.

"Hey, we deserve some of those good city jobs too!"

Nothing these clowns do, surprise me. Watching the Public Works Board talk about MBE/WBE commitments is mind-numbing. Recently, the city rejected bids (which were challenged at a public hearing of the MDC) partly because of their supposed MBE/WBE application short-comings. So, efforts to divvy up the spoils on a diversity basis seem to be accelerating. The intention is clearly to buy more supporters and maintain power. The sad thing is that they actually believe it will work.

Marycatherine Barton said...

Thank you for this alert to the particular so-called affirmative action plans of the Ballard Administration. The government is not supposed to deliver spoils (thanks, Citizen Kane) and Hoosiers deserve to be served by only the best qualifed, and that had absolutely nothing to do with their racial identification, or their sex.

Anonymous said...

Diversity at any costs will always end up with bad results. Gary, if I were you, I would quickly evacuate the People's Republic of Indianapolis. Ridiculous taxation is one thing, but the hiring of unqualified people based solely on their skin color, ethnic background, religion, and/or sex organ, and putting those people in positions of power, is extremely disturbing and scary.

Indy4U2C said...

Straub needs to go!!!

He has no idea about our values system...that hard work and merit are the only reason for advancement.

This leftist thinks that quotas and hiring/promotion of incompetents should be forced upon us.

Straub is wrong.

Gary R. Welsh said...

How soon we forget. Didn't we just finish dealing with a group of affirmative action hires at IMPD who turned out to be rapists, child seductionists, thieves and drug dealers?

Paul K. Ogden said...

Okay, CK, I'm not going to blame Winnie for this policy. From what I hear, she's too busy fetching coffee for the mayor to be accussed of being responsible for a nutty affirmative action policy.

Great post, Gary. You said it far better than I couldhave.

patriot paul said...

I'm not one to jump on the pre-judging bandwagon, but if Indianapolis gets its own diversity czar for the sake of devising different criteria for selecting token ethnics, then we are simply reinforcing legalized race-cardism. One has to be qualified to obtain a driver's license, a doctor's license to practice medicine, and citizenship to vote.
When it came to the panhandling issue and whether select charity groups could solicit on street corners, the Mayor said the law should apply equally to all.
So it is with those put in charge of putting out fires or law enforcement. A non-racial standard test. We're not in school any longer, and it is not the city's business to invent a civil scholarship to unqualified candidates.