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Top Ranking New York City Government Latina Defends De Blasio Administration On Latino Hiring

First Posted: Nov 29, 2014 04:02 PM EST

New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito has responded to criticism from the National Institute of Latino Policy (NiLP) that the de Blasio Administration had a poor record of appointing Latinos for administration or agency positions.

NiLP argued in a city where the Latino population is 29 percent, the hiring rate for the appointments publicized is 11 percent Latinos, and 30 city agencies lacked highly placed Latinos.

"There's always rooms for improvement, but ... the level of access that communities of color have in this administration is quite a sea change," Mark-Viverito told the New York Daily News. "I have not seen the number of Latinos heading agencies -- I never saw that under Bloomberg, and I see that here."

Mark-Viverito said Chancellor Carmen Fraina, whose parents immigrated from Spain, heads the Department of Education, and Feniosky Pena-Mora, a Dominican, heads the Department of Design and Construction.

"We have some really substantive positions," she told the Daily News. "And obviously there's always rooms for improvement, but as a Latina who has advocated for greater diversity, I'm really heartened by the level of access that my community has had."

NiLP said they thought the only reason they could find for Mark-Viverito's response was that she hadn't read the analysis on hirings which makes the de Blasio administration's record indefensible. It also shows the continuing close relationship between the City Council Speaker and the Mayor begun under the Bloomberg Administration.

"We understand that Melissa owes de Blasio many political favors, which is why she has come to his defense in the face of growing Latino community criticism of the Mayor," said Angelo Falcon, executive director, NiLP. "But to bother to compare de Blasio's track record of Latino appointments to that of Bloomberg, who basically almost totally excluded our community, is like comparing mangos with bananas. And to point to the appointment of two individuals heading city agencies as proof of Latinos as well represented is a bit disingenuous."

READ MORE:  Latino Policy Group Demand New York City Government Hire More Latinos

In critical analysis of the de Blasio administration's publicized announcements and agency hires, NiLP calculated that the de Blasio administration had hired 11 percent of Latinos, compared to hirings of African-Americans at 77.3 percent, Asians at 76.9 percent, and Whites at 184.8 precent. And in hiring for agency higher level job titles, Latinos made up just 12.1 percent in contrast to 64.0 percent of jobs given to White employees. The agency hires were concentrated in only three of the city's 39 agencies -- the Mayor's office, Department of Education, and the ceremonial Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City.

NiLP said despite repeated requests, Mayor de Blasio has not met with them despite 85 percent of Latinos voting to elect him as Mayor.

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