City Beat

Audit says Sacramento city management, police don’t reflect diversity of populace

“Have we gotten better or have we gotten worse?” asked Councilman Rick Jennings.
“Have we gotten better or have we gotten worse?” asked Councilman Rick Jennings. Sacramento

Sacramento is one of America’s most diverse cities. But an audit released Thursday shows many departments at Sacramento City Hall – and most of the city’s management ranks – don’t reflect that diversity.

While 35 percent of the city’s population is white, 65 percent of managers at City Hall are white, according to the audit. And of the 152 employees in management positions making more than $120,000 a year, 70 percent are white.

The audit also identified a gender gap in management pay: Just 35 of the 152 city managers making at least $120,000 a year are women.

The report was particularly critical of the Police Department, where 76 percent of the uniformed officers are white. Slightly more than half the city’s 4,846 employees are white, according to the report.

“It’s very apparent that city employees don’t mirror the community,” Councilman Jay Schenirer said at a City Council budget and audit subcommittee meeting Thursday.

Council members asked City Auditor Jorge Oseguera to dive deeper into the numbers. The data reflected the city’s workforce today, and council members requested historical numbers to identify trends.

“Have we gotten better or have we gotten worse?” asked Councilman Rick Jennings, adding the numbers in the report gave him a “sickening feeling in my stomach.”

Schenirer asked for historical trends by city department.

“I want to use this data to see what is working, if anything, so we can look at those best practices and others can figure that out,” he said.

Members of the NAACP blasted the findings.

“This report is a shame,” said Stephen T. Webb, president of the NAACP’s Sacramento branch. “We’ve got to do better. The numbers don’t lie.”

Webb said he was particularly concerned with the Police Department’s lack of diversity, saying “we definitely don’t want a Ferguson” situation in Sacramento.

Of the department’s 127-member command staff, 101 of those commanders – or 80 percent – are white, according to the audit. Just 14 of the department’s 607 police officers are black. Seventy officers are Latino and 47 are Asian.

An examination of police salaries determined that 27 of the 37 officers making more than $120,000 a year are white.

The report showed progress in the Police Department’s diversity efforts. The council has increased funding in the past two budgets for recruitment programs that seek diverse academy candidates from city high schools and colleges.

Six black cadets were part of the January 2016 police academy class; there was one black officer in the January 2015 class. The number of Latino, Indian and Middle Eastern cadets also increased over that time, while the number of white trainees decreased.

Gender diversity is also increasing in the academy, according to the report.

Council members asked Oseguera to report back to the council with diversity numbers for the academy graduating classes, not just for the cadets in the classes.

The Fire Department is 74 percent white, while 70 percent of the employees in the city attorney’s office are white.

Some city departments fared better in diversity.

The mayor and City Council offices are 35 percent white, 17 percent Latino, 22 percent black and 7 percent Asian. Of the more than 1,100 employees in the parks department, 27 percent are white, 19 percent are Latino, 21 percent are black and 10 percent are Asian.

The city’s population breakdown is 35 percent white, 27 percent Latino, 18 percent Asian and 13 percent black.

Ryan Lillis: 916-321-1085, @Ryan_Lillis

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