‘Time for playing it safe is over’: City report calls for swift action on inequities between Black and White Pittsburgh

New Gender Equity Commission report lists 11 recommended actions to address gender and racial disparities in Pittsburgh.

by Oliver Morrison

Amanda Neatrour worked for the City of Pittsburgh from 2013 to 2017 to help cultivate a more diverse pool of job applicants.

She noticed that some departments’ hiring practices were different than others. For example, Mark Bocian, the current chief of the bureau of medical services, asked Neatrour, who is a Black woman, to help out with a high-level interview.

“I appreciated that because, at that time, the chief and assistant chiefs were all men,” she said. “He wanted to make sure there was diversity in terms of not just gender but also race.”

But in another department, she said, hiring decisions like these were made by a white man alone. “That never sat well with me,” she said. “I felt that there should have been some kind of regulatory oversight for how these types of interviews are conducted.”

Neatrour is now part of an effort to require the city change practices that are responsible for many inequitable outcomes, including the fact that the city’s workforce is 74% male. She is one of 15 members of Pittsburgh’s Gender Equity Commission who last week presented to the City Council a 28-page report with 11 recommendations on how to eliminate some of the city’s long-standing inequities.

The new report’s first recommendation points to the need to stop police violence in the city. Other recommendations, such as increasing sick leave, are specific and build upon work the city has already done with its new sick leave policy that was enacted in March and requires up to 10 days of sick leave for medium and large companies and three days for smaller ones. Some recommendations, such as a push for a universal basic income trial program, are new and would likely take substantial resources, even as the city faces a budget shortfall greater than $120 million due to falling revenue during the COVID-19 shutdowns.

India Renae Hunter, a University of Pittsburgh master’s student studying public health and social work, voices criticism of a City of Pittsburgh Gender Equity Commission Report at an Oct. 14, 2019 public meeting. (Photo by Juliette Rihl/PublicSource)

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‘Time for playing it safe is over’: City report calls for swift action on inequities between Black and white Pittsburgh

 

 

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