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How much diversity is enough?

Terry Garlock's picture

There must be a lot of white racists right here in Fayette County. According to the NAACP, whites have voted in blocks against black candidates, thereby making a case for district voting.

The NAACP seems to be saying in their claim that only a black candidate can serve the interest of black constituents, and that blacks can be presumed to overwhelmingly support black candidates.

Gee, isn’t that racist? Could it be the NAACP wants a guaranteed outcome instead of just a level playing field?

Maybe our President wants a guaranteed outcome in the federal workforce, too, because last week he issued an executive order, “Establishing a Coordinated Government-wide Initiative to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Federal Workforce” intended to “promote the federal workplace as a model of equal opportunity, diversity and inclusion.” The order went further to say the federal government “must create a culture that encourages collaboration, flexibility and fairness to enable individuals to participate to their full potential.”

You might think from that executive order our federal workforce, rapidly growing under President Obama, has too many white males, but let’s take a look at the 2010 stats from the federal Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

Blacks are 11.1 percent of the population but 17.7 percent of the federal workforce. Hispanics are slightly under-represented compared to the population. Asians and Pacific Islanders are 4.4 percent of the population but 5.6 percent of the federal workforce. American Indians are 0.7 percent of the population but 1.8 percent of the federal workforce. Whites are 70 percent of the population and 66.2 percent of the federal workforce, but as President Obama’s executive order makes clear, that’s still way too many white people on the bloated payroll.

If you observe that measuring the workforce by racial and gender groups instead of measuring performance is breathtaking in its stupidity, it is, indeed, but don’t tell OPM because that sort of common sense would make their sensitive heads explode.

Preferential hiring, retention and promotion practices in the federal government has a long history. Let me share with you a little of my own memories.

For five years in the 1990s, I stepped out of the corporate world to be a quasi-government employee — I was Director of Investigations in the eastern U.S. for the FDIC/RTC.

My investigators and support staff developed civil and criminal cases against those who caused losses to failed savings and loan institutions. During an intense hiring period, I would have liked to use affirmative action in a positive way, which in my mind would have included an overt effort to cast a wide net to invite and prompt qualified minorities and women to apply, and then from that pool hire the best for the job. But of course OPM had other ideas.

Any business owner reading this is probably rolling his or her eyes, because they are in the trenches of hiring and firing, and they know that “best qualified” does not come from education and experience listed on a resume, and it certainly does not come defined in a racial group.

They know that because they have hired people with glowing qualifications, only to discover later that person is either an idiot or a fool who focuses on rights instead of responsibilities.

Smart hiring officials learn that finding the best people requires that you “screen out” with the resume, but you select the best from their personal qualities like eagerness, interest, dedication, tenacity, loyalty, integrity, professional appearance, written and oral communication skills, composure under pressure, ability to get along with peers and superiors and so on. As a hiring official, you do your best to pick winning performers, but reality does not always emerge in the interview process.

When you have federal human resources types involved in hiring – people who care quite a lot about minority groups but little about those personal qualities that make the best employees – then getting the good ones hired becomes an obstacle course.

In my case we ran that obstacle course as best we could, and despite the losers on the payroll, we succeeded in hiring some outstanding people, too.

The real performers carried the load of the slackers along for the ride. The federal award and promotion system gave far more weight to minority status than to performance, but I must tell you that among my best performers were “minorities.”

Performers and slackers came in all races and genders, and therein lies the secret readily apparent to some of us but hidden forever to the pathologically sensitive – employees should be hired, judged, promoted and fired based on individual performance, not membership in any group.

Having said that, I’ll share a real secret with you that might stir some lashback. Among my best investigators looking for bank fraud and negligence, people of all stripes that I was proud to work with, women were often better at the job because for some reason they were more focused on details.

But I had winners and I had idiots and fools that were black, white, men, women and so on of any race, gender, religion or any other classification a liberal might dream up. And every one was an individual, responsible for their own performance.

One foreseeable consequence of OPM’s boneheaded preferential treatment of minorities was the weakest employees learned quickly how to game the system. Once their under-performance became clear and they were on a path of documented deficiency and correction, many protected themselves by filing a discrimination claim based on race, gender, age, religion, you name it. That made them protected for a year or so because management had to treat the claim as if it were real, and the procedural wheels turned slowly.

On one visit to Atlanta from Washington, D.C., an EEOC attorney was reviewing the case of one of my fools who had protected herself with a race discrimination claim – she was black. I asked the attorney, who was also a black woman, if my perception was correct, that 90 percent of these claims were false. She answered that I was probably low, more like 95 percent. Your tax dollars and mine at work.

I finally did manage to fire that particular fool of an employee, and because she was so unpredictable I asked for an Atlanta police officer to oversee cleaning out her desk and escort her off the premises. That is just one example of the waste involved in making federal employees so protected from common sense disciplinary action.

During that episode of my life, my investigators and the attorneys and prosecutors we worked with recovered over $600 million for taxpayers, and the credit is theirs, not mine. The real shame is, if we had not been tangled up in red tape, we could have recovered twice that amount.

That was 15 years ago. Do you think federal hiring, managing, promoting and firing practices have trended toward common sense in that time period? Do you think they now realize people are individuals, not members of a group? Neither do I.

I’m sure OPM is still dedicated to group identity in personnel management, with nary a thought to the fundamental improvement to the system of treating people as individuals, judging them by their performance and giving pink slips where deserved.

And I’m certain of this – OPM welcomes the President’s new initiatives. I’m sure the NAACP is reassured as well by the President’s order, which is right in line with their assumption that blacks will always vote based on the color of someone’s skin.

[Terry Garlock of Peachtree City occasionally contributes a column to The Citizen. His email is terry@garlock1.com.]

Comments

Mr. Garlock, you miss the point. The suit brought forth is to have the county follow the same district voting election rules of candidates that mirror the same rules that exist in say Coweta, Fulton, Cobb, etc. Simply stated, representatives are elected to represent a geographical district of constituents, and only those residents are eligible to vote for the election of representatives of that district. If the voters in New York were legally entitled to vote for your representative of the 3rd Congressional district of Georgia, you would not like it. The suit is seeking relief by having Fayette County align itself with the rest of the designated voting districts. The issue also involves relief from disenfranchisement. The fact that you want to bring in the color of one's skin as the prime motivating factor is only proof that your argument is based on a carry over of discrimination based on a regional rule of Jim Crow laws.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

Withdraw from the case, give up, roll over, whatever. Save some attorney's fees and start district voting in 2012. What would the harm be? A black candidate from North Fayette is fine with me. Black population in Fayete County is right at 20% - 1 of 5 county commission seats is also 20%. Big deal. Let 'em have it. How is he or she going to be worse than Horgan? Or Hearn or Frady?

Only downside is this gives Brown the chairmanship on a silver platter and his showboating will reach new levels. But he will probably get that anyway regardless of where the 3 new commissioners come from or who elects them, so let's get on with it. Clean house of the 3 losers, line up the district voting thing and get on with it. It is a small county and we all need to learn to get along.

I really liked Terry's story. Wonder what happened to the loser he finally fired. Back in government somewhere? Maybe Atlanta school system? Give us her name Terry and we'll find her.

Live free or die!

If those other counties are so great, and seem to have everything figured out to you, MOVE.

[quote] I’m sure the NAACP is reassured as well by the President’s order, which is right in line with their assumption that blacks will always vote based on the color of someone’s skin.[/quote]

Really? Blacks will ALWAYS vote based on the color of someone's skin? Poor Shirley Chisholm, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and others in local elections didn't benefit from your 'reality'. This president has been the recipient of unbiased racial hatred and will probably receive the majority of the black vote in 2013 because of his handling of the country's business despite hateful rhetoric from some; an ineffective Congress; and slow recovery from the previous mismanagement of our finances. Both political parties are victims of the racial division that has raised it's ugly head in 2008. Thinking citizens see areas of agreement between the political parties, but the extremes in both parties are hindering COOPERATION towards solutions. I'm here in DC today, basking in the beauty of the marvelous memorial to MLK. Many Americans of all colors are here. The fear and hate engendered by the implementation of Jim Crow is alive and well in some parts of our country - fear and hate exhibited by both blacks and whites. What is happening in Fayette County is seen by many as a last ditch effort to maintain the discrimination that Fayette County was known for years ago.

tgarlock's picture

. . . (not me) that assumes people vote based on skin color. I know it is popular to portray whites as racist, but seems to me the NAACP is a racist org.

Terry Garlock

It is too bad that the NAACP has this image here. I still see this whole issue as an attempt to maintain the status quo of voting here. I have not found this 'black community' district in Fayette County that has the power of electing based on their block voting. (skin color) I have noted a number of citizens dissatisfied with the current representatives - and a possible advantage to make this appear as a racial issue. I may be wrong.

They claimed that 99% of Blacks voted for the Black Candidate. And you say it's too bad folks have that image about them.

suggarfoot's picture

"They claimed that 99% of Blacks voted for the Black Candidate. And you say it's too bad folks have that image about them."

You got her/him right between her old racist eyes.

on things. If the facts are on your side, argue them. The NAACP said that 99% of black folks will not vote for a white candidate. I'm sure how you can parse the 99% comment any differently that what it is.

G35 Dude's picture

[quote]It is too bad that the NAACP has this image here.[/quote]

They have this image because they want to do things like butt in to a county that has a good school system, that has attracted blacks (and others), to this area that want a good education for their kids. They're not happy that these kids are getting the best public education in this area. They want to change things just to add color. If you want black representation for the sake of color then move to Clayton or Fulton county. Quit trying to upset the apple cart here. What we have been doing has been successful.

You can't use logic with an illogical person.

Here we have the racist organization that is the NAACP that is completely bereft of inclusion and diversity, suing the county because they feel that the leadership isn't diverse enough. What a bunch of miserable hypocrites.

suggarfoot's picture

I couldn't agree more.

"The real performers carried the load of the slackers along for the ride. The federal award and promotion system gave far more weight to minority status than to performance, but I must tell you that among my best performers were “minorities.”

The other workers were always expected to carry the load of the slackers, and that was ok and accepted. Good workers are there to do their job no matter what, and they take pride in their work. The rub comes when the slackers start messing with the customers and enjoying petty power at the customer's and companies expense. When that happens, you not only carry their load, but have to walk behind them with the kitty litter.

I feel this will cost Obama the election and every other elected offical who panders for votes. They will feel the ire at the ballot box of the 'real performers' who find themselves used daily, as well as the consumers, who are just plain fed up with it

I'm amazed at how bad some people are at their work. I worked with a Wharton MBA (started out working for her and ended up with her job when she was fired) who was hired for her credentials but couldn't do her job. Anyway, every point you made was right on.

I, too, worked for the Resolution Trust Corp in the 1990s and it was the most eye opening of experiences in how the federal government doesn't work. I wasn't in a position to see your hiring/firing issues; I was a paper pusher. As a technical writer I spent two years writing reports on foreclosed properties. To this day I don't think anyone ever read, or even filed, any of the reams and reams of reports I churned out. The federal government is all about procedures, not actually getting any work done. Amazing.

Right on the money!
Unfortunately Mr. Garlock's comments are right on the money. In fact, in todays " Politically Correct " era I am surprised, and grateful to see someone telling it the way it is. My hat is off to Mr.Garlock for writing the article and to The Citizen for having the courage to print it. I am sure that they will be getting a lot of flack about this, I just hope that they can stand the heat. For far to long, we have been seeing a lowering of standards in test scores and qualifications in an effort to give minorities an ( unfair ) advantage over other applicants. I am sure that the majority of people now complaining about Fayette County initially moved here because of the stability and organization of the County. All one has to do is look at Clayton County to see what could become of Fayette County. Remember: Not all whites are racists and not all racists are white.

Look at the majority gender/ race of the current US Congress. Not exactly supportive of the 'advantage' of lack of diversity or the stellar performance of the majority based on race and gender. Nice try - but continuing to try to defend 'lack of diversity' on poor performance/better performance based on color or gender just doesn't hold water in 2011. Just a thought for 2011. Please don't allow deadlines prevent you from giving the readers the full picture of a situation - some will do their own research.

Fulton and Clayton County both lost their public school accreditation. Was that due to a lack of diversity on the school boards in those counties or was it just pure coincidence? hmmmmmmmm.......

I think maybe Fulton has a white member.

Nobody tries to get on from the white race for the same reason nobody black tries in many other counties!

The sad part, and worse, is that the Atlanta area will not hire a school superintendent, chief of police, etc., who although may be better qualified, from the white race.
They find it hard to bargain with them about not stirring the pot too much.

Even after the latest foul ball in APS, they won't do it. See the new APS super and the new DeKalb super.

They obviously want 100 more years to equate the problems. The lady WASHINGTON, D.C. fired would be an excellent candidate, although Asian.

Much of this is the 75% no daddy in the house. Due to welfare---and of course we can't punish the babies.
The Moms are the only ones who can stop this problem causing their lack of progress. (Or the Grandmas going on strike).

tgarlock's picture

. . . I was defending "lack of diversity." I don't mind diversity at all, never have, it adds something to an org, all other things being equal. What I do mind very much is the group-think that distorts the hiring process from selecting the best INDIVIDUAL for the job, whether that be man or women, black or white etc. And as I described briefly, the preference system in hiring very quickly morphs into protection of selected groups of people from the consequences of lousy performance, hardly a recipe for an org to perform at its potential. I don't think it matters whether it is 2011 or mid-90's when the experience I described took place.

Terry Garlock

But imagine what the reaction would be if minorities starting posting and sharing their experience of years working under incompetent males and/or whites? The minorities and women in supervisory positions or other 'white only' jobs are not all incompetent. Change is difficult - and I know you are sincere about diversity . Let's be honest, you have also been in the company of incompetent white males. Now we all have an equal opportunity not to be the best for the job. There is forced segregation, forced integration , the 'ole boys club', etc., etc., etc., that sometimes blocked the best candidate from getting the job. In 2011, 8 times out of 10, the most qualified and prepared will get the job - and that may be hard for some to take if it's a woman or a minority .

tgarlock's picture

. . . white males. Incompetence knows no gender, age, racial or other boundaries, just as winners come in all flavors as well. When we downsized in 1995 there was one white male dud that I assumed would try to protect himself with a discrimination complaint of some type, though I didn't know how because he was under 40 and couldn't yell age discrimination. But he came through with a religious discrimination complaint based on being Jewish, a complaint that had no basis whatever, but of course we had to process it as if it was real (read that waste your taxpayer money). That complaint went all the way to a judicial hearing in Atlanta. As we waited in a conference room to be called to testify, I made a $1 bet with Max, the mgr the complainant had reported to directly, betting that Mr. dud would not show for the trial. He didn't show and that was the sweetest dollar I ever won. I still have it somewhere, signed by Max. And I didn't feel the slightest twinge of sympathy for Mr. dud.

Terry Garlock

Is there for just implementation for all. At least some of the duds are identified.

Do you know if the numbers reported above include the Military or better yet do you know if the reported numbers from the federal Office of Personnel Management (OPM) include military personnel?

tgarlock's picture

. . . include military personnel. OPM manages civilian fed personnel, each branch of the armed forces has their own personnel operation last time I looked. But I should add, and should have included in the column but forgot in haste beating a deadline, that the source for that data was a recent Washington Times article. Since the Times is the conservative counterpoint to the liberal Washington Post, that disclosure of the source might give comfort to some who lean left and accordingly may feel justified in ignoring the data.

Terry Garlock

Not wanting to lean left or right I like being in the middle. If the numbers include civilian fed's and military numbers then why do we feel Washington is as diverse as it should be? DC is the area in which our POTUS said to look into. The numbers you provided skewed what could have been a good honest conversation. Are there numbers for the geographical area in which the Pres. is referring too?

tgarlock's picture

. . . do NOT include military. And if you want to count heads by groups in particular cities or areas, have at it, but I wouldn't want to waste my time.

Terry Garlock

Sorry for the confusion. Our Prez. is a pretty smart guy and his comments regarding equal opportunity, there must be something we don't see.

suggarfoot's picture

A message from the director of the US Office of Personnel Management
It gives the breakdown of government jobs according to race

http://www.opm.gov/About_opm/reports/feorp/2010/feorp2010.pdf

Findings for FY 2010
The Federal workforce is

17.7 percent Black,

8.0 percent Hispanic,

5.6 percent Asian/Pacific Islander,

1.8 percent Native American,

0.7 percent non-Hispanic/Multi-racial,

and 66.2 percent White.

Minorities as a whole constituted 33.8 percent of the FW

the breakdown of races

http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/00000.html

is

63.7 Whites

16.3% Latino

12.6 Blacks

4.8 Asian

those are government sites...and if you disagree..by all means call any gov agency and guess who you get on the phone most of the time.

the races are being OVER REPRESENTED BY BLACKS.

I personally would like it to be FAIR... I think the best qualified should have the job...and countless one on ones I've had lately just haven't made me feel that is the case.

Hey Terry, why not just give them a double-shot of Wes Pruden and be done with it!

Gort's picture

If the most productive investigators in the department were women, why didn’t the manager’s position go to a woman? Why did they have to hire a white male from outside the organization as the manager?

Remember: If you think Social Security and Medicare are worth saving, vote Democratic.

tgarlock's picture

. . . but the key word you overlooked was that women seemed to focus more on detail "often". Besides, that was my own observation over time, not an OPM hiring principle, and surely skewed by my sample size of winners and duds who also happened to be women. And to give you the comfort of checking your group politics box, I didn't muddy the water with this in the column but I also had Assistant directors and Department Heads under them, some of each women. Satisfied?

Terry Garlock

Gort's picture

I asked a question and you answered.

I’m pretty sure I “didn’t miss the key word,” either. In fact I fully accepted your appraisal of the situation,

[quote]T-Garlock wrote:

,..women were often better at the job because for some reason they were more focused on details.[/quote]

I just wanted to know why they had to go outside the organization to hire a middle age white male when they had all that talent already working there. I’m just speculating but isn’t it possible you may have been hired on to level off a diversity goal over achievement and cheated some hard working women in the department out of chance to move into a management position?

Since you were such a high ranking official, can you tell me if your categorization of employees as “winners or duds, idiots and fools,” typical of someone in the managerial ranks of civil service?

Remember: If you think Social Security and Medicare are worth saving, vote Democratic.

tgarlock's picture

. . . on my own petard? I'll let your suspicions run wild on why they hired me in one of the few exec positions, and whether that "cheated" someone out of a promotion. As for civil servants using language like “winners or duds, idiots and fools" to describe employees, only when the door is closed to talk candidly to each other, or in this case publicly about past history in general. I was not well liked in Personnel because I bucked the system as much as I could to resist the group-think mentality, and surely you realize by now I have rough edges. But when it comes to comments about specific individuals, or written appraisals, the language I used was more formal, and private, because each individual deserved nothing less, whether their performance was stellar or disappointing. Note the repeated word "individual."

Terry Garlock

with you that all retired military personnel should get off the socialist dole and stand on their own two feet, if they still have them! As for your cushy RTC job, I suspect that you got it though your past connections--a little back rubbing from a friend on the inside! That is usually the way these plumb government jobs are handed out!

Braves off today! Possible to catch the Phils, but let's not blow up any more arms trying!

Are you talking here about Mr. Garlock getting his high paying job out of the military due to being in the military? (many Civil Service uppers did come from the military--even the disabled ones).

I once worked at a defense contract company who had more Colonels and Generals on the payroll than workers. (Pentagon connections).

Most of our current Generals and others also get plush jobs for who knows what!

Also, that there should be no big pensions for military retirees since it is a direct charge to tax payers?

Can we speak plain English here?

I question all this for discussion only, as I am not on a horse to rid these things.

My English must be pretty plain, as you hit the nail on the head! I don't know much about Colonels and Generals other than what I learned from Hogans Heroes, but I know some about how the world works!

I think pensions for life, both public and private, are a bad idea in general, and for T-gar in particular because he is always railing against others getting stuff for free from the government! Social security is the exception as it works, as long as new people continue to be born and work!

Speaking plain English is overrated! Ask Chief Haddix!

Is it too late to plant pumpkins?

Why do some people think T. Garlock gets some sort of hefty pension from the Govt? I've never seen any written reference to such a thing. If you wanta go after someone, try me--I'm the one who gets a good pension after 42 years of Federal Service--but not a penny more than what I signed up for and what I earned!

been after you on that very subject! But, you are not much fun to banter with because you are too honest and forthright! I don't exactly know why I presume T-gar has a fat gov pension--I think he might have said so at some point. Regardless of what you signed up for, your pension is still socialism! Lots of GM workers, delta pilots, and other private sector workers signed up for life-time pensions too, but they all got zapped when times got tough, meanwhile your pension gets paid on the backs of the taxpayers! Socialism for me but not for thee!

You think the Braves will catch the Phils by the end of the season, and does it really matter if they win the division or take the wildcard?

No, I don't think they will catch the Phillies--Phillies aren't losing much and Braves still don't have consistent offense. Wild card works for me!

Robert W. Morgan's picture

I hope and pray the Braves get through the first 3 of 5 they will play against someone. If they do - they are in it all the way. If not - well, you have seen that movie before.

Live free or die!

Advancing will be difficult. However, they did good last year with a much worse team than they have this year! The Phils will be hard to beat in the NLCS, but it can be done! Just Believe!

Also, they won't have to play Brooks Conrad at 2B in a key game anymore!

Robert W. Morgan's picture

6th or 7th inning - two spectacular outs. Baseball the way it should be played.

Live free or die!

see the Cubbies. As I have stated here previously, I don't have a TV. Will look for the highlight on ESPN.com though!

Thanks for the tip!

That is the way everyone with a pension feels like! Especially if it comes from taxes.

They are also usually the ones who don't want others getting Social Security, which they and their employer did pay for! One contract as good as another one.

Another case of whose Ox is in the ditch as to whether to get him out on Sunday!

Gort's picture

I’m just asking you a few questions about your experience in civil service.

Once again, I’m just speculating but I would guess you may have masked your language in official documents and oral communication but you probably couldn’t mask your attitude toward your organization and employees.

If you won’t tell us why they hired you for the manager’s position, will you tell us if you checked the box that identified you as a military veteran when you applied for the job?

Remember: If you think Social Security and Medicare are worth saving, vote Democratic.

tgarlock's picture

. . . that was the system in place even if I disagreed with it. If I had to throw out the one I like not just for myself - veterans preference - to get rid of all the stupid preferences in hiring, I'd do it in a heartbeat. Pick away, I'm done.

Terry Garlock

Gort's picture

if you feel the way you say, why didn’t your blog on ‘How much diversity is enough?’ mention doing away with the veteran’s preference?

As you know, veterans are a legitimate minority within the general population. Do you really believe veteran’s don’t deserve a hiring preference or are you just willing to sacrifice their hiring preference so nobody else would get one?

BTW, I think your blog ‘They all deserve to be remembered’ was your best work.

Remember: If you think Social Security and Medicare are worth saving, vote Democratic.

Gort's picture

‘They all deserve to be remembered’ stinks too. 8 - )

Remember: If you think Social Security and Medicare are worth saving, vote Democratic.

You know darn well Fort McPherson and Gillam were jammed full of former "Officers" and few unranked people. In the Civil Service.

They weren't smart enough to know how to not rattle cages.

The pendulum is now swinging back in the other direction. I know several white males who have filed suit based on race and they have won. They won because once again the agency had to right size their numbers in promotions, to correct the numbers game they were playing under affirmative action. Around and around it goes.

I have been watching the exchanges the past few days over Garlock's column on diversity. I have to give my comments.

To answer Garlock's question, too much diversity seems to be that level of diversity that makes white males angry and feel threatened.

The world sometimes seems to be divided between the diverse and the non-diverse. The non-diverse have been in control for a long time. The diverse now have more power.

Garlock's statistics on Federal employees do not address diversity at the managerial level. My guess is that whites, especially white males, are predominate at the managerial level (in Federal talk--GS-14, GS-15, and SES levels.)

Like Garlock, I have been a manager and would like to think that I was always right and the best judge of my employees. But Federal employees and union workers in general, unlike the case in many private companies, have rights which allow them to challenge management. And good managers learn how to manage in this environment.

Many of the non-diverse would like to return to the time when they were in complete control and their judgment was not questioned. Those days are gone or at least I hope so.

lion

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