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Leesburg Town Council creates minority task force

The Leesburg Town Council voted Dec. 10 to create a task force to evaluate minority hiring practices in the town.

The Town Council is hoping to to develop a workforce that is more reflective of the town population. While whites constitute around 60 percent of the town population, there are 293 whites whites employed by the town to just 33 minorities. Of the minorities employed, 21 identify as black, eight identify as Hispanic, three identify as Asian and one identifies as other.

Councilwoman Kelly Burk brought forth the motion to create a 10-person task force to advise human resources and the town manager on how to improve minority recruitment. Burk recommended the task force meet four times over the course of the year, culminating in a report next December.

“We're not hiring minorities in positions. There may be a variety of reasons,” Burk said. “But one of the things we've got to start doing is reaching out to communities. We need to be able to get suggestions from those communities of the best place to advertise to get applicants. We looked at the numbers, and its pretty dismal the number of minority applicants we get.”

Of the 770 full-time applications received in 2013, 182 were from minority candidates.

Vice Mayor Dave Butler offered a friendly amendment to appoint Kelly Burk as the Town Council member on the task force.

The other members of the task force and the criteria with how they are selected will be determined at a later work session.

The motion ultimately passed unanimously.

The issue was brought forth from a Maryland attorney, Phillip E. Thompson, who sent a letter to the council regarding a lack of minority employees.

“There is a hope that this Council would try to address this issue in a coherent and a systematic way before outside parties and public scrutiny become an issue,” Thompson says in the letter. “Other municipalities and organizations when faced with similar employment imbalances, have put in place policies and procedures to try to address their workforce makeup without disrupting ongoing operations.”

The Town did note that they have attempted to expand minority recruiting efforts, including advertising with La Voz, which reaches a Spanish-language audience, and a new online method of posting jobs.


Hiring at the Town is more nepotism and friends than prejudicial.
Over the years a workforce that is over 95% white, hired friends and family.
I would be interested in how many family members work for the Town.
Also those same family members and friends are promoted to positions of authority and the cycle continues.
There are virtually no minorities in positions of authority.
The Town workforce in many areas consist of little cliques . If you are not in the clique, you have little chance of promotion.(utilities, parks and rec.)
I am glad someone has finally noticed.

The presumption made below that there aren’t educated qualified “minority” applicants is ludicrous.

Who exactly is presuming this? It certainly was not my comment. If you read my comment, you’ll see that I am talking about proportionality.

Proportionally speaking, minorities are less likely to have completed college, and more likely to have criminal or credit problems. (Although if Sen. Elizabeth Warren gets her way, credit checks will be illegal for employment purposes. Personallly, I prefer the people spending my tax money to have good records with their own finances, but I digress.)

What’s ludicrous is the presumption that employment populations should mirror general populations, with no regard for some basic qualifications outlined in my previous posting.

There is no doubt that there are qualified minorities to fill some positions. It is just that general population proportion is a highly deceptive barometer of progress.

Looking at representative percentages in a workforce is absolutely a valid statistic to evaluate and address. The presumption made below that there aren’t educated qualified “minority” applicants is ludicrous.

it’s amazing that a white man currently living in River Creek (OMG, million dollar homes in a gated community) is so concerned about the amount of non-whites working for the Town of Leesburg. on a good day, you probably won’t cross paths with any non-whites while visiting town government buildings. it’s also funny that he uses his status as a Maryland attorney (environmental - I should have known it) to distance himself from the equation. I will dig deeper and find direct links between burk and Thompson, as they have probably protested together. I just found he gave Ms Burk $275 in 2011 and can only imagine they have has several conversations about the non white situation. as a white male trying to gain entry into various police forces, it has been an uphill battle due to the reverse discrimination and unqualified personnel being hired above me to fill quotas. I applaud the best applicant being hired for a position. Mr Thompson should actually live within the Town of Leesburg limits, and pay taxes, before offering his comments.

Excellent job Chris N!
Is this more pandering?
Are there any minorities on the task force?

I’ve never understood why overall percentage of the population is used to determine whether discrimination is taking place and whether certain segments are being treated fairly.

Take teachers, for example. What sense does it make to compare the number of minority teachers to the number of minorities in the general population? How about starting with the percentage of minorities that have actually attended college and hold teaching degrees?

By adding in just basic qualifications, you will significantly reduce the proportional number of minorities available for these positions. And if you throw in additional screeners such criminal and credit histories, the numbers will become even more skewed.

Discrimination is a serious charge and shouldn’t be tolerated. But lets not trump up these numbers by meaningless comparisons to the general population, with no regards to qualifications.

The Town of Leesburg has made an excellent decision by establishing this task force. I applaud Councilmember Kelly Burk for introducing the motion and I am certain that she will be an excellent member of the Task Force.  Kelly Burk’s statement of how to approach this issue is right on.  I was once involved with an organization that insisted that there were no minority or women candidates qualified to be hired.  When this organization learned to recruit from different sources, it was found that indeed there were very well qualified women and minority candidates.

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