Most City Workers Are White, Male, Figures Show

Laura Graff, Winston-Salem Journal, February 28, 2009

Winston-Salem’s city government is overwhelmingly run by men and whites, according to an analysis of December employment figures given to the mayor and the Winston-Salem City Council this week.

The figures show that the almost three-quarters of the city’s officials and administrators are men and that nearly two-thirds are white. The people who work in “protective services”–police, fire or security–are even more likely to be white and male.

The city’s overall employment roster directly reflects the black population of the city: 34 percent of city employees and 34 percent of city residents are black. The city included data from the U.S. Census Bureau to show how the city’s employment roster corresponds to Winston-Salem’s demographics.

For instance, less than one-fifth of the people who work in protective services are black, but nearly four-fifths of maintenance employees are black.

Jimmy Boyd, the president of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said that the numbers are alarming.

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The council and mayor received the numbers Thursday as a precursor to data that the city will be required to report to the federal government this fall. The numbers represent a snapshot of employee demographics in December. The numbers that the city will report this fall to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will come from the employment rolls as they stand on June 30.

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Joines said that the numbers that show a shortage of black police officers are particularly troubling. Nineteen percent of the city’s protective-services employees are black. Ninety percent are male.

He said that the city has created programs to recruit black police officers, including one at Winston-Salem State University in which the city pays the tuition of a student who subsequently becomes a Winston-Salem police officer.

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