One of the lingering criticisms of outgoing Mayor Bloomberg was that City Hall did not reflect the diverse complexion of New York. The new mayor has a chance to turn the page on this issue.
The chief executive chooses his deputies and commissioners. Who he appoints to advise him on policy changes will affect nearly 2.4 million Hispanic New Yorkers. This is why he has to resist the pressure of political rewards and punishments and assemble a high caliber transition team that reflects the spectrum of our city, as newly elected Public Advocate Letitia James has moved to do.
To this end, we encourage the mayor-elect to hire a diversity consultant for this transition and appoint and empower a chief diversity officer in his administration.
We also urge the new mayor to ensure that pipelines to latino representation and leadership run throughout all city agencies and boards at all levels.
With specific challenges for English Language Learners and native students in our public schools, Latinos must shape educational reforms coming out of Tweed.
Hispanic experts must also continue to have a strong presence in a range of social services and in housing policy. But that is not where this community’s know-how and competency begins and ends.
The portfolio of this community’s seasoned and visionary experts must expand to agencies that influence budgets and the future of neighborhoodsfrom the Office of Management and Budget to the Department of City Planning and the Economic Development Corporation and Small Business Administration.
Both the private and public sector have been slowly but surely learning that diversity is not Crayola box politics. Without diverse leaders, businesses and local governments lose a competitive edge in this globalized economy. They fall short of the responsiveness that’s needed at a policy level and for nuanced and effective customer service delivery.
So far, there are positive signs that the incoming mayor gets this common sense and inclusive agenda. We hope he delivers.