April 28, 2009

Diversity in Action

Here's a New York Times article:

NY Councilman's Role in Sister's Hiring Is Examined

by Ray Rivera and Russ Beuttner

A few years ago, when New York City was pressuring advertising agencies to hire more black executives, City Councilman Larry B. Seabrook, chairman of the Council’s Civil Rights Committee, approached one of the largest companies with a plan to address the issue.

The company, the Omnicom Group, ultimately endorsed Mr. Seabrook’s plan to create a high-powered diversity committee and agreed to spend $2.25 million on initiatives. It also decided to retain a consultant from Atlanta whom Mr. Seabrook had proposed to help run the committee.

The City Council speaker, Christine C. Quinn, praised the plan. H. Carl McCall, a former state comptroller, agreed to serve on the committee. And Omnicom saw the plan as an effective response to concerns that just 2 percent of the higher-ranking jobs at New York advertising firms were held by blacks.

But Ms. Quinn, Mr. McCall and the company say they were never told that the candidate recommended by Mr. Seabrook in early 2007 was his sister.

Omnicom officials said they did not learn of the sibling relationship until they discovered it on their own, shortly before they settled on Mr. Seabrook’s sister, Priscilla A. Jenkins, for the job of coordinating the committee’s work.

Ms. Jenkins was a former college administrator who ran a consulting business out of her home. Company officials said they were not concerned that Mr. Seabrook never mentioned the relationship to them. And the officials would not say what the company pays Ms. Jenkins.

The company decided to retain Ms. Jenkins as the committee’s executive director because of her “extremely impressive résumé,” said Weldon H. Latham, the company’s outside legal counsel on diversity.

“Her experience in management, administration, education, diversity and corporate and community liaison made her an attractive candidate,” added Mr. Latham, who said he could not release her résumé. He said that apart from recommending Ms. Jenkins, Mr. Seabrook played no role in the decision to retain her.

Ms. Quinn referred the matter this month to the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board and the Council’s Standards and Ethics Committee after learning of the relationship from a reporter.

City regulations prohibit elected officials from using their positions to obtain financial gain or personal advantage for themselves or close family members. ...

Ms. Jenkins’s duties include administrative, communication and coordination tasks, and she plays a role in setting the committee’s agenda, the company said. In addition to hourly consulting fees commensurate with industry standards, Ms. Jenkins is compensated for her expenses, including travel costs from Atlanta, Mr. Latham said. The committee and its subcommittees have met numerous times and “have been instrumental in helping shape and enhance Omnicom and its agencies’ diversity efforts,” he said.

When Mr. Seabrook came up with his plan to address diversity, the city’s Commission on Human Rights, a mayoral agency, was just finishing a two-year investigation of hiring practices in the advertising industry.

The commission had investigated 16 of the city’s largest agencies and was threatening to hold potentially embarrassing hearings if the companies did not sign pacts agreeing to set hiring goals and to report on their progress annually. Patricia L. Gatling, the agency’s commissioner, said she had not been aware that Mr. Seabrook was working with Omnicom on a separate plan.

Most of the companies signed agreements with the commission. But four agencies affiliated with Omnicom objected to numeric hiring goals and instead pursued the proposal by Mr. Seabrook, who was also planning hearings.

As a result of its discussions with Mr. Seabrook, the firm agreed to provide $1.25 million to the eight-member committee over five years to finance programs on diversity and to devote an additional $1 million to establish a marketing and communications curriculum at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn. Omnicom’s plan with Mr. Seabrook did not satisfy the Human Rights Commission, however, and two weeks later, the company signed the pact with the commission.

In the most recent numbers released by the city, the advertising industry reported that it was largely meeting the hiring targets that it had agreed to with the commission. In 2008, for example, 30 percent of those hired into upper-echelon positions were minorities, according to the industry numbers.

Before assuming her role with Omnicom, Ms. Jenkins, 55, directed the Center for Academic Excellence and Leadership at Morris Brown College in Atlanta. She worked at the small historically black college for 15 years, until 2003. Many staff members left the college after it lost its accreditation in 2002. The program she had managed was designed to offer remedial assistance and to help students find internships, and she oversaw a staff of two to four people, according to Milford W. Greene, a former professor and a former assistant dean at Morris Brown. ...

According to city records, Ms. Jenkins has also done consulting work for at least three Bronx-based nonprofit groups financed by Mr. Seabrook through City Council discretionary funds.

The groups, the Mercy Foundation, the Northeast Bronx Redevelopment Corporation and the African-American Legal and Civic Hall of Fame, were run at the time by Gloria Jones-Grant, a close associate of Mr. Seabrook’s. The groups are among those that investigators are scrutinizing as part of an investigation that began last year into how the Council spends its discretionary funds.

Since Mr. Seabrook joined the Council in 2002, the groups have secured more than $1 million in city contracts, mostly through Mr. Seabrook.

The Mercy Foundation, which paid Ms. Jenkins $7,500 in 2007 to help with what city records describe as an immigration seminar, has received nearly $200,000 in grants from the Council. It is unclear how much Ms. Jenkins has been paid by the groups in total because the city would not release additional documents, citing the continuing investigation.

In the mid-1990s, when Mr. Seabrook was a state legislator, federal investigators looked into his role in financing the Northeast Bronx Redevelopment Corporation and how the money was spent. The investigation did not produce any criminal charges, but a state audit later criticized how the group had spent $260,000 it had received, saying that it should return $46,000 because it had not adequately documented the expenses.

In approaching Omnicom, Mr. Seabrook envisioned an industrywide committee, with a full-time executive director, that would work with the Council and use a combination of public and private money, Mr. Latham said. Later, Mr. Seabrook gave the company a list of recommendations for committee members and one name for executive director, Ms. Jenkins’s, Mr. Latham said.

As discussions continued, he said, Omnicom realized that it would be the only source of financing and that this would be, essentially, its committee. Omnicom made the executive director position part time, Mr. Latham said, and discovered that Ms. Jenkins was Mr. Seabrook’s sister. He said the company never brought it up with Mr. Seabrook.

Mr. McCall, the Omnicom committee’s chairman, said of Ms. Jenkins: “The fact is she had a job and she did the job. I don’t know how she got the job.”

Why is this sort of a scandal, but the First Lady having the equivalent make-work diversity racket job at the U of Chicago Hospitals, and getting paid $117k when her husband was chairman of the Illinois Senate Health and Human Services Committee and then getting her salary more than doubled when her husband got elected to the U.S. Senate, not a scandal?

The best answer I can come up with is that Civil Service laws are supposed to prevent favoritism in government hiring. Still, private interests, like the U of C hospitals, really aren't supposed to bribe elected officials by hiring their loved ones to make work jobs and then giving the loved ones huge raises when the elected official gets elected to a higher office. (The existence of the Diversity Racket makes all this easier because it's obviously unimportant whether they accomplish anything. The less they accomplish in, say, getting no-bid contracts for minority firms, the better for the general public). Maybe it's not illegal, but isn't it a little unseemly? Especially since Mr. Obama carefully positioned Mrs. Obama as this home-and-children-first Earth Mother during the campaign, so how in the world can she be said to have "earned" $317k in the year after his election to the Senate?

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Honestly, this hardly matters. Which is to say, no one cares.

Anonymous said...

This is actually one of the more benevolent outcomes under AA: black employees who would otherwise be in hopelessly over their heads get shunted into these "stand there and be black" positions where they can't screw up anything. Of course, in yet another example of unintended consequences and the road to hell, blacks who really do have the chops get shunted into these slots as well.

--Senor Doug

robert61 said...

The glorious coda to Mrs Obama's make-work history is that her position was eliminated after she left.

Despicable.

And her man-arms are ugly, too.

Ross said...

"The existence of the Diversity Racket makes all this easier because it's obviously unimportant whether they accomplish anything. ".

Michelle Obama's post was so unimportant that as soon as she left the role after her husband became president the hospital simply abolished the post, which previously they had considered so important that it merited a massive salary, even when Michelle took a year off to campaign for her husband.

http://www.cdobs.com/archive/our-columns/michelle-obamas-job-eliminated,2486

Anonymous said...

"Why is this sort of a scandal, but the First Lady having the equivalent make-work diversity racket job at the U of Chicago Hospitals, and getting paid $117k when her husband was chairman of the Illinois Senate Health and Human Services Committee and then getting her salary more than doubled when her husband got elected to the U.S. Senate, not a scandal?"

Because Obama is the liberal/black establishment's ultimate FU to whitey. So he SHALL NOT be tainted. Mandela fulfils the same role in South Africa, though most people down there know his criminal background and that his "Mandela Children's Fund" is his private till used to finance the lavish overseas education of his siblings and extended family. Mugabe had the same role in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, only he started misbehaving too obviously so the establishment had to dump him, i.e. withdraw all those phoney honorary doctorates, knighthoods and peace awards and lavish funds.

As for the NY Councilman and his sister, to be fair this sort of thing also routinely happens in Europe and I guess in the US amongst whites.

Anonymous said...

elsewhere in the NY Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/29/education/29scores.html?hp

headache said...

Maybe it's not illegal, but isn't it a little unseemly? Especially since Mr. Obama carefully positioned Mrs. Obama as this home-and-children-first Earth Mother during the campaign, so how in the world can she be said to have "earned" $317k in the year after his election to the Senate?

Had Mrs. Obama been white the MSM would have plastered the hypocrisy about her 317k racket...er...PR job all over the tabloids, or NYT-type toilet papers. We are living in a time where having a darker skin means you are held to lower standards and given several free passes, publicly. It’s unfair and stupid but it’s the way it is. WHO decides what is a scandal or not? That's the real question.

Anonymous said...

This just looks to me like politicians doing what they always do.

You lived in Chicago, Steve, so you ought to know what I mean. It's amazing how people related to the Daleys, the Mells, the Duffs, and to Alderman Ed Burke wind up in jobs they aren't qualified for and where they don't seem to do too much. (Justice Ann Burke, of the Illinois Supreme Court, being a good case in point.)

In Chicago, this used to be a mostly white activity (with Big Bill Dawson and his underlings being the exception) until Harold Washington came into office, at which point the political makeup of the city started reflecting the population in general, and you suddenly had a lot of black officials doing the same things white ones did-except, as Mike Royko once noted, they didn't have as much experience at stealing, so the Feds caught them much more often.

I suppose this is diversity in action in that when you didn't have blacks in office, you didn't have thieving black politicians-only white ones.

Planetary Archon Mouse

Jerry said...

I'm a U of Chicago alum, and whenever they hit me up for money, I reply with an indignant letter about how much they've paid Michelle Obama... zip from me when they have money to throw around like that.

Roger Chaillet said...

"Negros in Heaven."

That's what my former brother-in-law called NIH (National Institutes of Health) in D.C. He is a research scientist - PhD - with the USDA and FDA.

Reminds me of Condoleeza Rice.

Colin Powell.

Former Secretary of Education Rod Paige.

The woman who outed Joe the Plumber.

And millions and millions of others.

They have sweet sinecures, complain frequently about trivial BS, and get paid handsomely for their time.

Anthony said...

P.A.M. brings up an important point; we see the same thing here in California a lot, too.

I suspect that political cronyist nepotism will be more common among blacks, though, because the talent pool is smaller even proportional to the population, and because intelligence seems to run in families.

(You hear about the cases where one guy/gal rises well above the rest of his family, because that's a more interesting story than "city councilman's whole family moderately accomplished professionals". And it does happen the first way - I've seen it in person. But that's not the way to bet.)

rightsaidfred said...

Interesting that New York payed for someone from Atlanta to commute and fill this office...

Truth said...

"And her man-arms are ugly, too."

More erudite, intellectual discourse brought to you by the self-proclaimed high-IQ posters at isteve.blogspot.com!

Mr. Anon said...

The difference between the diversity racket and a criminal racket (like the old Chicago Outfit) is that criminal rackets at least deliver some kind of product (numbers payouts, drugs, booze, prostitutes, etc.). The diversity racket however is a black hole of state-sponsored extortion - money goes in, nothing comes out.

Steiner said...

More attention needs to be paid to the effects of AA on organizations that design, manufacture and sell products in open marketplaces, like the USA, against international competitors. I'm referring to the American auto industry here, you know, the one that's in the process of utter collapse. Every time I see a recent picture of an American auto production line, woman and blacks figure prominently. Did these individuals get their jobs because they were the best qualified, on the basis of mechanical aptitude? We all know the answer to that one.

You think these are "square-peg, square-hole" jobs, so it doesn't matter? That's not what they think in Tokyo and Munich. They expect their assembly-line workers to show an interest in the product, suggest a better way and contribute to efficiency and quality. How many American women and blacks can do that on a production line, how many of them spent their formative years tinkering with machinery, learning how the thing works?

The rot began to set in during the late 60s, with demands for preferential hiring of blacks. You can read about it in John DeLorean's book, "On A Clear Day You Can See General Motors". That book reads like prophecy today.

Svigor said...

City regulations prohibit elected officials from using their positions to obtain financial gain or personal advantage for themselves or close family members. ...Apropos of I-don't-know, but this strikes me as a bit of legislation that has "disparate impact" written all over it.

Ronduck said...

How long will it take for Wall Street to understand that diversity leads to lower profits?

Svigor said...

More erudite, intellectual discourse brought to you by the self-proclaimed high-IQ posters at isteve.blogspot.com!Don't worry, that was exposed as a total sham the day you showed up.

Anonymous said...

Complaining about MO's arms seems petty and pointless, I dont find her unattractive, though I dont think she or her hubby should be anywhere near the government.

Roger Chaillet said...

Steiner should look into Ford Motor's meltdown under Jacques Nasser.

Nasser was the Australian of Lebanese descent who damn near ruined Ford after former CEO Alex Trotman's tenure. Trotman had Ford earning over $22 billion in 1998. http://www.hbs.edu/leadership/database/leaders/alex_trotman.html Nasser came along, and had Ford diversify into junkyards and a host of other Mickey Mouse ventures. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacques_Nasser

Rumor had it that Nasser also had a chip on his shoulder because his olive complexion. He held Australian citizenship because his family had immigrated to Australia while he was very young. http://www.answers.com/topic/jacques-nasser

As for the auto industry, Honda Auto was sued by the EEOC a number of years ago because urban blacks were allegedly underrepresented in its ranks. Anyone who views the accompanying map will realize how farcical this was. http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Anna+ohio&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&split=0&gl=us&ei=aAb5Sc2KMZOitgO4sKTBCg&sa=X&oi=geocode_result&ct=image&resnum=1

Anna, Ohio is miles from the 'hood.

Anonymous said...

"The difference between the diversity racket and a criminal racket (like the old Chicago Outfit) is that criminal rackets at least deliver some kind of product (numbers payouts, drugs, booze, prostitutes, etc.)."You've never heard of the protection racket?

David said...

Roger said

"of Lebanese descent"

Are you sure about that?

David Davenport said...

"of Lebanese descent"

Are you sure about that?
Yep.

Nasser's also blamed for making Dearborn MI the most Muslim city in the US. Nasser is nominally Christian.

bg said...

the news:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article6211846.ece


the person behind the news:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baroness_Uddin

I bet the house wasn't in a vibrant and colorful neighbourhood...

Anonymous said...

robert61: The glorious coda to Mrs Obama's make-work history is that her position was eliminated after she left.

Despicable...


Hey Steve - it's more than a year later now [May of 2010], but this make-work racial-spoils mess with Michelle is back in the news:

One of Obama's closest friends part of federal probe
BY DAVE McKINNEY, CHRIS FUSCO AND TIM NOVAK
May 9, 2010
suntimes.com

E-mails and other records of Dr. Eric Whitaker -- one of President Obama's best friends -- have been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.

The investigation involves "faith-based initiatives" and health-awareness campaigns funded by the Illinois Department of Public Health when Whitaker ran the agency for former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, according to copies of subpoenas obtained under the state's Freedom of Information Act.

Obama has said he recommended Whitaker for that job, which Whitaker landed in April 2003. The president's friend resigned in October 2007 to join Obama's wife, Michelle, as an executive at the University of Chicago Medical Center.

On Friday, Whitaker defended his work as the state's former top health official, saying he developed "new methods" to help "African-American and other minority communities" get better medical care...