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What's going on with City employees?

Shoutout to our Sacramento State intern, Sarah Rabanales, for her work on this write-up!

Item in question (1): 2021 Audit of City Employees’ Workforce Diversity and Salary Trends - 06/28

On June 28th the City Auditor’s department presented the Audit of City Employees’ Workforce Diversity and Salary Trends, and also addressed issues found within this audit, to the City Council. The discussion started with a unanimous vote to pass the motion first and then hear the presentation. The presentation itself consisted of two separate presentations; one by the Principal Fiscal Policy Analyst, Farishta Ahrary, who presented on the 2021 trends, and the second by Diversity and Equity Manager, Aimée Zenzele Barnes, who presented on improvements still needed.

Ahrary started off this presentation by providing background on the report, starting with the fact that this annual diversity assessment has been conducted since 2016.

The objective is to: assess the diversity of City Employees as of July 2021 as it compares to the Diversity of City of Sacramento residents, and conduct trend analyses of 2021 results compared to previous years.

Read the report here.

A summary graphic from the report can be found below.

She continued the presentation by mapping out the results of the assessment and reviewing the improvements made (see brief summary from the report below).

This presentation was then followed up by Diversity and Equity Manager Aimée Zenzele Barnes, who presented improvements needed from the diversity assessment report, and strategies used to improve these discrepancies.

Although there are many improvements noted in the first presentation, according to Barnes there are various issues in the 2021 Audit that CANNOT be overlooked.

The issues she pointed out include the fact that Sacramento’s workforce is strongly white dominated which does not match our current population

She also noted that within management positions, legacy hires (people hired after 07/2021) for Hispanics and Blacks are decreasing as compared to white management legacy hires.

These are just some of the discrepancies seen between the City workforce compared to the general population. Because of these issues, the City Auditors have implemented the Race and Gender Equity Action Plan (RGEAP). According to the report, this plan

serves as a living road map to guide the work of all City departments and offices to organize and operationalize a racial equity lens to cultivate a City workforce that is more reflective of the community we serve

According to Barnes the strategy presented “represents a Holistic and sustained approach to workforce equity."

Even though this presentation on behalf of Barnes does address important questions and concerns when it comes to diversity representation within the City workforce, there were also some unanswered concerns. One came from a community member's public comment in which they expressed interest in better understanding the process of recruitment from minority communities and how distrust within law enforcement affects these numbers. Sadly, they did not have answers to these concerns, and

unfortunately this is not enough. When looking at diversity trends, issues such as recruitment of minority communities and law enforcement are imperative to this conversation. Without an analysis of these issues, we cannot really get down to the root of these issues.

Next up - item 02: 2022 Diversity and Workplace Climate Survey Results

Also on June 28th, the City Council voted unanimously to accept and file Item 02: 2022 Diversity and Workplace Climate Survey Results. This item was brought to the Council by the Office of the City Auditor and presented by the Senior Fiscal Policy Analyst, Jordan Sweeney, who is also the primary auditor responsible for this project.

This survey was started in early 2020 by the office of the City Auditor, with feedback and collaboration from various departments including: the Diversity and Equity Manager, the City Attorney's Office, the HR Department, and Sacramento LGBTQ+ Community Center. Since it was created in 2020, it has been updated and readjusted to be conducted in 2022, and was available to City employees through their work email from March 1st-15th 2022 (Photo 1).

Read the report here.

(Photo 1)

There were 940 (21% of City employees) participants in this survey, all with various demographics but the majority being white and hourly employees. Although it seems like a lot of participants, it is only a small representation of employees and is NOT an accurate representation of the City's workforce climate. The way this survey was conducted allowed participants to choose questions from various topics or ‘dashboards’ that impact employees' everyday work life such as leadership, bias, microaggressions, diversity, inclusion, equity, etc.

Overall Sweeney reported that the results of this survey are positive, yet there were also results of bias, harassment, microaggressions, etc. within the workplace

The presentation was then concluded with employee suggestions for improvements (Photo 3).

When looking at the demographics and results from this survey, it can be difficult to understand the excitement over the results. As Sweeney had mentioned, the results are positive but we also have to consider the fact that whites (274) were the largest responders with Hispanic or Latino/Latinx (82) second and Black/African Americans (63) third.

When discussing workplace climate it’s important to consider WHO is responding to these surveys and whether it is accurately representing what is actually going on. When looking at these results through the lens of social justice, they might be misleading and ignore the experiences of many City employees.

Although these surveys are conducted within the City workforce, we should continue to urge the office of the City Auditors and other departments to conduct more inclusive and representative surveys about workforce climate if they want more accurate results.

Finally - Item 03: City of Sacramento Community Survey

The final presentation on behalf of the office of the City Auditor was for the 2022 City of Sacramento Community Survey, and was presented by the City Auditor himself, Jorge Oseguera. This was a brief overview presentation for the recent results of the annual community survey conducted through the office of the City Auditors. Oseguera started his presentation by providing background on the sample size, timing, response rate, and participation in the survey, as well as where to find it (some background can be found below).

Read the report here.

View the report dashboard here.

Summary graphic below.

The objective of this community wide survey, according to Oseguera, is to better understand where Sacramento sits nationally compared to other similar cities. He continued by explaining what the survey is looking to capture, which is a measurement of residents' opinions over ten central facets of a community. This measurement is called ‘Community Livability’.

The results of this survey only look at the ‘percent positives’ which is a combination of positive responses such as excellent/good, very safe/somewhat safe, etc. (see photo below)

Overall, according to Oseguera, the results of the community survey were positive. On most of the questions regarding ‘Community Livability’ residents were pretty satisfied with Sacramento’s performance.

Except when it came to three important categories: economic concerns, affordability, and safety. Oseguera explains that within these three categories Sacramento ranked lower than the national benchmark average.

Unfortunately, Oseguera did not go over any information or strategies to deal with the overall disapproval of and concerns over the state of Sacramento’s economy, affordability and safety.

Instead we continuously see the City Council choose to fund law enforcement, despite its inability to guarantee safety. We also see the City Council approving funding for anything but affordable housing or projects that would ethically and equitably stimulate the economy. We see this over and over again, even though the data PROVES the community wants our leaders to take more action against issues concerning the economy, affordability, and safety. Although these results were once again basically ignored, we need to continue fighting against City Council funding projects that do not align with community needs and demands.


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