It didn't take long for the announcement of the semi-finalist candidates to become Austin city manager to generate some backlash. Among the six candidates (expected to be winnowed this week) were three white men, one white woman, and two African-Americans (woman and man), but no Latinos. (Former General Services Administration chief Denise Turner Roth – African-American – has since found a better job and withdrawn; Miami City Manager Daniel Alfonso was among those interviewed earlier by Council, but either withdrew or didn't make the cut.) In a press release last week, the executive board of the League of United Latin American Citizens (District 7) called the omission "unacceptable," and asked that Council "redo its selection process to have a fair, balanced, and equitable outcome."
The LULAC statement notes that Latinos now represent 35% of the Austin population, yet are relatively underrepresented in city government, especially in executive positions, which the group calculates includes 22% Latino executives. The underrepresentation, LULAC charges, "restrains Latinos from translating its population presence and growth into political, civic, and economic participation to successfully influence policy outcomes." LULAC VII (representing several Austin LULAC Councils) is calling for a "redo" of the selection process, in a "comprehensive, inclusive, and transparent manner." Calls to the mayor and some council members for response to the LULAC statement were not returned.
Copyright © 2021 Austin Chronicle Corporation. All rights reserved.