Report: Glass Ceiling Still Strong in Local Government
30 years and no change in the percent (13%) of women managers in local government. It’s time for a change. We’re asking you for your perspective and ideas for action. In the next several months, we’ll introduce a series of initiatives to address the 13 percent issue.
City of Del Mar, CA — Assistant to the City Manager
Where were you in 1984?
11 years old in middle school
Describe your view of whether local government has been effective in attracting a diverse workforce (women, minorities, etc.)?
I think that local government has increasingly attracted a lot of women, but not minorities. Having worked for five cities in California, I would say from my experience over the last 20 years that minority representation has been very minimal, except in cities that had fairly diverse populations or had a minority in the CEO position.
Wave a magic wand and give us three suggestions for improving diversity in the local government workforce.
- I think that local government is still a relatively unknown option for a profession. Outreach to high school and college minority students to raise their awareness that such a career path exists might be helpful.
- For the most part, local governments are not very family friendly when it comes to providing support for new mothers (e.g., extended maternity leaves, job sharing, part-time professional roles). If you leave the local government workforce as a young mom to take a few years off, it will be very difficult (if not impossible) to re-enter when your children are a little older. To address this, encourage local governments to enact more family-oriented work schedules and/or work structures. This would require encouragement and support from elected officials as well as executive management.
- Entry-level positions are rare. As cities, we are not out at colleges recruiting the best and the brightest, like a big tech company or the accounting firms. If you are a recent college grade trying to enter the local government workforce, you’d be lucky to get a paying internship. Without an internship, it would be practically impossible to get a position as an Analyst. What about encouraging local governments to have a one to two-year fellowship program for recent college grads?
Give us the names of the local government professionals that you look up to.
- Cathy Capriola, Assistant City Manager, City of Novato, California
- Rita Geldert, Retired City Manager, City of Vista, California
- Leah Browder, Director of Public Works, City of Loveland, Colorado
- New City Talent – The Sandpiper
- City to survey Del Mar residents on core services
- Del Mar residents encouraged to increase water conservation
- PACE in CA: Del Mar approved PACE program
1984 – The Archives
- Megan Smit, County of Cabarrus, NC
- Polly Hulsey, College of Southern Idaho
- Benjamin DeClue, City of Lebanon, MO
- Whitney Rhodes, Pierce County, WA
- Carmen Mays, City of Spartanburg, SC
- Diedra Lane, City of Tallahassee, FL
- Sarah Bledsoe, Village of Rye Brook, NY
- Michelle Daniels, City of Henderson, NC
- Dr. Penelope Culbreth-Graft, Culbreth Associates