Yesterday, Michael Bloomberg told reporters that the “diversity of our administration has not been as diverse as the city itself, but we're going in that direction.” But, a Bloomberg spokesman told The New York Times this weekend, this administration has been just as diverse as the previous one.
By the somewhat crude measurement of total number of African-Americans to have held the title of commissioner or higher for any length of time, the Giuliani administration was in fact more diverse. But since the total number of black commissioners hired under Giuliani was in part a function of turnover, it's effectively a wash, as close as I can tell.
Martha Stark's resignation as finance commissioner, as some of the mayor's critics quickly pointed out, left only two commissioners in the administration who are African-American: Roger Newman at the Mayor’s Office of Veteran Affairs, and Patricia Gatling at the Commission on Human Rights.
But since 2002, when Bloomberg took office, there have been six African-Americans who have held the title of commissioner for various agencies.
By comparison, according my count, which was assisted by a reader who worked for the previous mayor, the Giuliani administration had eight African-Americans as commissioners over eight years.
(And yes, it's also somewhat arbitrary to use Giuliani administration as the bar-setter on diversity in hiring, but for the sake of this exercise, I'll just compare the two. Please feel free to enlighten me about how each of them stacks up to earlier administrations.)
Here, according to a mayoral spokesman, is the list of African-Americans who have worked as commissioners in the Bloomberg administration since they took office in 2002:
William Bell, Commissioner, Administration for Children’s Services 1/01/02 – 7/18/04
Martha Stark, Commissioner, Department of Finance 2/25/02 – 5/02/09
Verna Eggleston, Commissioner, Human Resources Administration 1/1/02 – 2/25/07
Patricia Gatling, Commissioner, Commission on Human Rights 2/11/02 – Present
Michael Handy, Commissioner, Office of Veterans Affairs 7/26/93 – 6/01/03
Roger Newman, Commissioner, Office of Veterans Affairs 9/10/07 – Present
And here's the list of African-Americans who worked as commissioners in the Giuliani administration between 1994 and 2001:
Rudy Washington, Commissioner, Department of Business Services 1994 – 1996
Deborah Wright, Commissioner, Department of Housing Preservation and Development 1994 – 1996
Marva Hammons, Commissioner, Human Resource Administration 1994 – 1996
Peggy Hamburg, Commissioner, Department of Health 1991 – 1997
Michael Handy, Department of Veteran Affairs 7/26/93 – 6/01/03 Wilbur Chapman, Commissioner, Department of Transportation 1998 – 2000
Debbie Weeks, Commissioner, Department of Business Services, 2000 – 2001
Earl Andrews, Commissioner, Department of Business Services, served after Washington and before Weeks
Al Curtis, Commissioner,Department of Youth Services 1994 [added]
UPDATE: After initial silence follwing the Stark resignation, Bill Thompson has something to say about the Bloomberg administration's hiring practices.
UPDATE: As George Smiley points out, the list of Giuliani appointees leaves this former commissioner out.