Posted on November 29, 2006

Minority Hiring Practices Probed

Gregory W. Griggs, L.A. Times, Nov. 29, 2006

The League of United Latin American Citizens announced Tuesday that it is investigating Ventura County’s hiring practices related to recruitment, promotion and retention of Latinos, blacks and other ethnic groups.

LULAC, the nation’s largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization, said it is responding to years of complaints by county employees and applicants who believe administrators don’t do enough to hire and develop the careers of minorities and single them out when layoffs occur.


Among the issues LULAC will investigate is alleged “at-will” hiring, which allows supervisors to circumvent normal hiring procedures. It also wants to determine how well the county complies with state and federal regulations regarding grants and other funded programs.

In a hand-delivered letter to County Executive Officer Johnny Johnston’s office, Rodriguez said the probe relates specifically to complaints raised about employment practices in the district attorney’s office and the county Health Care Agency.

Denis O’Leary, LULAC’s district director for Ventura County, who co-wrote the letter, said he has met with Dist. Atty. Greg Totten at least three times in the last 18 months to discuss creating a more diverse team of prosecutors and criminal investigators, but has seen little result.


Rodriguez said his organization has formally requested hiring and personnel data to determine how county government measures up as an equal opportunity employer.

In its three-page letter, LULAC asks Johnston and his staff to produce several documents, including:

o A list, by ethnicity, of all non-elected department directors, deputy directors and supervisory or management positions. A similar list of all incumbent at-will appointees is also requested.

o The name and job title of each person responsible for recruitment within all county departments.

o Copies of any report since 2001 mentioning county compliance with the California State Merit System.

o A current list of all grants received, by department, from agencies or departments of the state and federal governments.