1984 with Carmen Mays, City of Spartanburg, SC

Posted on January 29, 2015

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Report: Glass Ceiling Still Strong in Local Government

More than 215 professionals have registered for the upcoming Webinar: Women in Local Government. The event is a sell out and we have started a wait list. Based on the registration numbers, it’s clear that the issue is not only a female issue, but an issue of how local government can and should better represent the community’s demographic. We asked those who registered for the webinar to respond to four questions.

Carmen Mays


Minority Business Development Coordinator

City of Spartanburg, SC

Connect: LinkedIn and Twitter


Where were you in 1984?

I wasn’t born yet.  So I guess I was still in the cabbage patch.


Describe your view of whether local government has been effective in attracting a diverse workforce (women, minorities, etc.)?

More often than not, in my experience, local governments more accurately represent the makeup and culture of the communities they serve but the focus should not solely be about physical diversity but also diversity in thought and experience.  That is the diversity that drives innovation.  Also don’t just “diversify” your workforce for the “PC” of it.  Really get out there and find dynamic and qualified individuals that bring something to your organization that doesn’t already exist.

Wave a magic wand and give us three suggestions for improving diversity in the local government workforce.

Teach Civics:  I’m sure football coaches are great Civics teachers but ummm yeah…let’s add to that.  Teach people how local government works and what it does.  A lot of people don’t consider a career in local gov because they don’t understand it.

Go Fishin’:  I’m still waiting for the impending Baby Boomer Tsunami.  Stop threatening us with retirement and just do it already.images

Let ‘em know you’re there:  Be present in your community.  Show up at career day.  Interact with citizens so they’ll know that people are the government and it’s not some machine that runs itself.  Be able to clearly state what you do and how that affects the population.

Give us the names of the local government professionals that you look up to.  

Sam Gaston, City Manager – Mt. Brook, AL – He was one of my MPA instructors at UAB.  He keeps it real.  He gives good advice and info + he can pull off a seersucker suit like nobody’s business! 

Supplemental Reading

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