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Workers reflect county diversity

By John Geluardi
Tuesday June 19, 2001

Minorities and women are “well represented” among the city’s full-time employees, according to a Human Resources Department informational report to be released to the City Council today. 

The report, which was requested by council last September, compares the minority and gender make up of city employees to the minority and gender make up of Alameda County’s eligible work force, which is comprised of people between 16 and 65.  

The report concluded that African Americans, Asians and women employees are near and in some cases over their corresponding numbers in the county’s work force. The report also notes that Hispanics are under represented in the city’s work force, second only to whites. 

Of the city’s 1,467 full-time employees, 490 are African Americans, which exceeds the county’s percentage by 18.5 percent.  

According to the report, which was prepared by Dennis Feggans, the city’s equal employment opportunity and diversity officer, the number of Asian employees are nearly equal to the county’s numbers but are still behind by about 6 percent.  

Women are well represented in management and professional positions in the city but are still behind in overall numbers by about 10 percent compared to the percentage of women in the county’s eligible work force. 

Compared to the percentages of eligible Hispanic workers in the County, Berkeley is behind by about 22 percent although the numbers of Hispanic employees has increased in recent years.  

“Historically, Hispanics have had the lowest representation figures in the city,” according to the report. “This continues to be true, but it was found that the Hispanic work force has increased considerably over the last three years, from 116 to 149, raising their representation from 8.2 percent to 10.2 percent.”  

The percentage for Hispanics in Alameda County’s work force is 13.1 percent. 

The most underrepresented group among city employees is whites, according to the report. Whites represent 42.7 percent of the city’s work force, which is more than 25 percent below the county’s percentage of eligible white workers.  

Feggans said there are fewer whites working for Berkeley not because of the city’s hiring practices but because whites have more opportunities in other fields. He said whites still predominate in managerial jobs.