Coleman, Labor chief spar over racial diversity

TRENTON – Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, (D-15), of Trenton, told Labor Department Commissioner Harold Wirths Tuesday she was shocked by the lack of minorities and women among the department’s administrators.  

“I’m stunned there’s no diversity…I’m stunned by the lack of diversity,” she said after Wirths pointed out his five assistant commissioners during a Budget Committee hearing. “There seems to be a serious decrease (under the Christie Administration). It’s kind of glaring,” Coleman said.

Of the assistant commissioners, there were four white men and one white woman.

But Wirths took umbrage, saying that the department has numerous employees that are either minorities or women.

“I was a little offended by the comments,” Wirths said to Coleman.

Coleman, who brought up the issue of racial diversity at some of the previous budget hearings last year, also said she wondered if Wirths was previously an auctioneer because “you talk so fast.”

But Wirths said he was a small business owner in Freehold.


Coleman, Labor chief spar over racial diversity