The numbers are surprising if not shocking: The city of Frederick’s population is 46 percent minority, but its workforce is less than 15 percent minority. Its population is 52 percent female, but its workforce is only 35 percent female.

Mayor Michael O’Connor and the Board of Aldermen recognize that the lack of a diverse workforce is a problem for the city. If all members of the community do not feel included in the city, they can begin to feel alienated.

That can show up in subtle but important ways. City police, for example, recently said they believe potential witnesses may be holding back as they continue to investigate a fatal shooting at an apartment complex more than two months ago.

“We didn’t really get a whole lot of people who stepped forward and provided interviews,” Lt. Kirk Henneberry, commander of the Criminal Investigations Division, told our reporter.

We cannot point to a cause-and-effect with the city workforce not reflecting more closely the composition of the population, but it is something to wonder about — and perhaps worry about as well.

The unwillingness of residents to help the police can be an early sign of a trouble for any city, a breakdown of a sense of community.

The city has hired MaxLife LLC, a business that specializes in helping workplaces become more inclusive and diverse, which is a step in the right direction. Founder Toni Bowie recently briefed the aldermen on what the firm has done so far.

MaxLife has worked with the city’s director of human resources, Karen Paulson, on several steps, including conducting a survey of employees and leading workshops and focus groups. She reported that employees were initially reluctant to take part.

“We started seeing a fear of being retaliated against if they participated,” Bowie said. “We learned about the good, the bad, the ugly and the indifferent. Some people came there in spite of their fears. They felt that it was a responsibility they had to provide different types of information. ... I wish you could have heard some of the stories.”

This, too, is somewhat alarming. It sounds as though the city workforce is suspicious and demoralized, which will make a serious effort to increase diversity that much more difficult.

Alderman Ben MacShane pointed to another serious stumbling block: the city’s generally laudatory practice of promoting from within.

“If there are already one, two, three logical successors lined up based on hiring prior to any diversity and inclusion plan, we could be talking about 40 years before we’d see any change,” MacShane said. And if well-qualified job candidates cannot see a path to promotion, they are less likely to want to join the city government.

Unfortunately, Mayor O’Connor seemed to downplay the difficulties the city faces regarding this challenge.

“Do I think there’s a way to make it happen? Absolutely,” he said. “Because we have to make it happen.”

Hope is not a plan, Mr. Mayor. As Bowie warned the aldermen: “Diversity and inclusion is not organically grown. It takes concerted effort and consistent work to make this happen.”

Recruiting a diverse workforce is hard work. You cannot just wait for qualified women and minorities to show up; you have to go out and find them, and persuade them to join your organization.

(44) comments


You only get hired if you have a family member or friend that is in on the hiring interview other wise they will not consider you for the position. They already know who is going to be hired before they do the interview because of the person doing the interviewing has their pick of who they want for the position it does not matter if you are qualified or not.


Bye Bye to "best qualified"


From the very start this article is ridiculous, but if you're living in or close to Frederick you have probably already figured out diversity in the workforce is the least of it's problems.


pretzel, O'Connor and the other official are just playing the "politically correct" game.

One of the factors of "affirmative action" and now this "diversity" nonsense (really all the same thing) is that the most highly qualified candidates for a job are not the most important thing. It establishes a quota system for having to bring on minorities. I saw it from different angles in my 37 years of being in the Federal government, ten of which I was a supervisor. It was actually in the performance evaluation plans of management, (and it was a critical element) where a certain number of blacks (and/or hispanics) had to be brought in. This is regardless of whether they had the qualifications to perform the job. The employees had to take on additional work because the minorities could not handle it. The supervisors who were hired for those positions generally could not perform, either. Moreover, those who could not perform came in at higher grades than the employees already there coming up through the ranks and learning as they went up the ladder. The incompetent had to be handled with kid gloves. I was told by my managers (when I was a supervisor) to "look the other way."


It was almost the same way at A.T. & T., Sue. In 1973 they signed a consent decree with the government. After that they hired more minorities and had some of the same problems. They called it Affirmative Action, but it was really a quota system. Still they cheated on it because it included women as a minority. So, naturally, most of the Affirmative Action went to white women. In one case, law suit filed by CWA Local 2350 a man - I will not use his name here, was awarded $16,000 for being bypassed.


I appreciate your comments, Dick. I'll bet that you and I could talk for hours on the subject. In my Agency, women were included in the Affirmative Action realm, except it was mainly black women at all levels that got hired (not white women). I'm glad that the man you referred to in your story did get some compensation after all he went through. Oh, and I saw plenty of white men victimized through the years and it was no fault of their own.


First of all, "blacks" and hispanic/latinos are no longer "minorities" That label needs to go. Second, qualifications and abilities matter first, not race.


You are part of the issue, when your response to this article is to automatically assume that the reason the workforce is not diverse because of qualification issues.

As a minority, I have multiple degrees, over 10 years of engineering experience and I would never work here because I don't think they pay enough. This might be shocking to some but there are some highly qualified minorities who are doing well and choose to go after better opportunities elsewhere and where its more diverse. Just don't assume or generalize any group.

If you have ever been part of a hiring process, you know its not just about qualifications but also fit, chemistry, and ability. You don't just hire based on qualifications.


I agree the pay in Frederick County is low, based on a farmer mentality. But with your degrees, you are obviously highly qualified for jobs related to your education. So, why do you feel qualifications are not necessary?


Qualifications get you in the door but that is not the only factor when hiring.


"...based on a farmer mentality."

What is this supposed to mean, dick? You're not denigrating farmers, are you? Salaries are set by regional costs of living using many tools, including the Campbell Wage survey.

Wages are also negotiated between the employer and potential employee. If the offered wage isn't high enough, the employee goes elsewhere (as above). If the requested wage is too high, the employer looks elsewhere.


Farmer mentality, work long hours and receive little or no pay. it is common among farmers. If they own their land they do good, but they don't pay living wages to those that work for them. Denigrating - perhaps, it never bothered them to pay the lowest wages possible and to take advantage of workers. In my home County, some farms have gone to 1,000 or more cows, no longer the family farm. They hire illegals and pay dismal wages. I know all about bench marking and negotiating, but illegals cannot negotiate and if you think young boys - which is what is commonly used, know how to negotiate, think again.


What exactly is "a farmer mentality," Dick?


The level of pay is an issue for many local and state governments. Those who become good at their jobs, will be snapped up by the private sector unless they feel they are having a real impact for the good of the tax payers and value that service more highly than a higher paycheck. I've seen that problem with a number states' environmental compliance programs. When some inspectors get good at their jobs, they leave for the private sector for higher pay. State and local governments can't compete with the private sector on pay for an educated workforce so they better learn how to let their educated workforce accomplish good for the tax payers instead of for politicians.


First of all, the ones who say you are for qualifications first, so if two people, one black and one white both had the same qualifications for a job, do you think the black person has a better chance of getting it???? I think not!


Tinae, you might think not, but some companies are looking for minorities with good qualifications. If you have them, you go to the top of the list.


Many younger minorities don’t want to work for the government choosing the private sector instead where the financial compensation and fulfillment is higher.


Hiring someone based on anything other than qualifications amounts to systemic racism. It’s also enabling, unfair, and suggests certain groups people are incapable of getting there on their own. Race is nothing more than a false social construct designed to keep people divided. Stop with the racism.


Pretty easy. Hire the best qualified candidate. We do not and should not make it about race or gender. Let’s live in the present not the past. Tired old argument.


Unfortunately that doesn't happen with some companies. Right now in 2019.

Numbers don't lie.




Has anybody here ever heard of “EQUAL OPPORTUNITY”, something that White people have denied Black people for the 400 years since they brought them here. Along with any people of color that try to infiltrate White Control of America.


I also lived in Howard County and we have much more community cohesiveness in the very cilturally diverse Frederick City. The fair way to hire is to base the decision on an applicant's qualifications.


I hope we are not going to get a diversity program for the trash collection department. As an early riser who often walks downtown streets at 6am when the trash people are still around, I can report we have a first rate bunch of trash collectors. They work hard. They work efficiently keeping the truck close by. They take a lot of trouble to handle even poorly packaged trash. If a trash bag breaks they grab a broom and shovel and clean it up... in short they're among the very best of the City's employees. They happen to 80 or 90 percent African-Americans (AAs) I'd guess. Is the City's new 'diversity policy' going to deliberately discriminate against AAs in order to get more white, hispanics and asian Americans hired by the City in the trash department? I hope not. The trash department has obviously hired on merit, aptitude, competence and dedication, and it should stay that way.


Peter, this is usually a good paying job because it is not one many people are willing to do. Blacks have often done work that others would not do - we all have to survive. Still, giving the education, ability and chance, don't you think many of them would like a different job?


You got that right!


Pet, I hope your not suggesting African-Americans skill set is limited to trash collecting? If so, and they do such a great job with waste management, there’s a lot of other components of government services where there’s a lot of waste which needs cleaning up.


You got that right! SMH


I am all for diversity as long as qualifications are at least the same. But what makes anyone think diversity will change cooperation. If you live in a community where others will retaliate against you, they would be taking a big chance.


"The numbers are surprising if not shocking: The city of Frederick’s population is 46 percent minority, but its workforce is less than 15 percent minority. Its population is 52 percent female, but its workforce is only 35 percent female."

The FNP and everyone else who makes arguments such as this does no one any service because the averages do not necessarily represent an accurate picture of the available workforce. I've commented on this before. One needs to be careful when doing an analysis, and use the right numbers before coming to conclusions othwise you may come to the right conclusion only through luck (worse yet, you'll come to the wrong conclusion and spend resources on implementing any actions based on the wrong conclusion). For example, what is the percent of "minorities" in the available workforce? If, for example, it is only 10% then the city's workforce shouldn't be made up of 46% minorities.

Furthermore, once relevant numbers are presented, the next question is so what? What is the measurable cost of diversification and what is the measurable benefit? With population growth, the changes in the city's demographics are likely to change much more quickly than the city's workforce unless you want a high turnover of your employees. Additionally the numbers used by the FNP likely include illegal immigrants (however many there are). How many illegal immigrants do you think will work for the city especially in the police department. It could be a significant number or not but is not identified at all in the opinion piece, so how can someone make an intelligent decision.

FNP, please make an attempt to identify all probable variables, then present which ones have a significant impact (based on a proper data analysis), then let us know what your opinion is.


I don't think an illegal could even be hired, by the City.


Montgomery and Howard Counties are highly diversified and are in the top Counties in the Country in wealth, education of population, and school systems. As far as I know diversification has cost them nothing and benefitted them tremendously. I lived for many years in both and I can tell you that the people in those Counties are much more positive and lead happier lives than many of the people In Frederick County. They don’t spend their lives worrying and angry about a Black family moving in next door or Brown people getting free benefits or Muslim people building a Mosque in their town. I know “then why didn’t you stay there”. Because I wanted to pi$$ the RRR(RadicalRightRepublicans) off. 🆗❓ Peace!!


I've lived in MoCo three times now (first time in the 60s). MoCo was rich long before it was diversified and needed ESL teachers. MoCo is now requiring more diversity training for its employees (that's not free and takes time from their other duties ... hidden costs). Instead of anecdotal information how about studies that quantify the costs and benefits. Neither Japan nor Germany are terribly diverse, yet they are economic power houses so diversification seem to not be a necessary factor or at least is not a major factor. I'm just saying that real costs/benefits should be examined before putting resources into some action. One commenter on an earlier article talking about going to PR to to recruit for a diversified workforce for the federal group he worked for. What were the costs and what were the benefits are other applicants that resulted in better performance? There are costs and benefits. If not done well, I suspect the costs outweigh the the benefits (costs will be higher but the benefits will be nearly the same). I don't know about you, but given equal outcomes, I tend to choose the cheaper option. Diversity is neither good nor bad in and of itself. It depends on any specific situation and therefore requires thought before action and some proof other than just stating that of course diversity is good.


Never known numbers and facts to get in the way of an agenda. Do you know that 50% of people have an I.Q. of 100 or less? Shocking, I know. (sarcasm font is not available)


I.Q. Tests?  From what I know they test the education level, not ability to learn.  On the other hand, the higher the education the greater the ability to think beyond the norm.  But as far as genetics are concerned there is not a proven difference between races.  And I .Q. tests are mostly weighted towards language and reading ability, math and history (Social Studies).  Another reason for differences is the home life and single parents working to support the family.  So far, not much has been done to overcome that even though there are some possibilities;  Such as extra tutoring, more analysis of individual weaknesses, etc.


"It sounds as though the city workforce is suspicious and demoralized.." would that be new? It's hard to adjust to a new regime every 4-8 years.


"City police, for example, recently said they believe potential witnesses may be holding back as they continue to investigate a fatal shooting at an apartment complex more than two months ago."

So, the FNP Editor believes that witnesses do not come forward due to a lack of diversity? They are thinking "I am not going to talk to someone because they don't look like me!" If that is the Editor's opinion, this self-segregation is the very antithesis of diversity. The goal of diversity is to appreciate someone for the content of their character, not their race, religion, or socio-economic status. The goal should be to hire the best, most qualified candidates regardless of ethnic, religious, or economic factors. As for the witnesses not coming forward, they don't do so because they fear reprisal from the criminal element, not because the officer may be white, brown, or black.


So a unknown writer says we need more “diversity” in the Frederick city workforce then spends all the time rambling about needing minorities hiring in the police department. I’m all for diversity, I’m also all for “hire the most qualified for the job”. If nobody in the county wants to apply then look outside the county...DO NOT LOWER the standards! This whole “diversity” crap is getting ridiculous!


You did read the last paragraph?

“Recruiting a diverse workforce is hard work. You cannot just wait for qualified women and minorities to show up; you have to go out and find them, and persuade them to join your organization.”

You, User1 advices: “I’m also all for “hire the most qualified for the job”. If nobody in the county wants to apply then look outside the county.”


aw - [thumbup][thumbup]


when you start hiring people for what they are instead of who they are you are going to lower standards


No doubt about that Reader. But at some point in time management should become aware that they have created a problem.


People not cooperating with the police has nothing to do with diversity, that's just ridiculous



Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Engage ideas. This forum is for the exchange of ideas, insights and experiences, not personal attacks. Ad hominen criticisms are not allowed. Focus on ideas instead.
Don't threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
No trolls. Off-topic comments and comments that bait others are not allowed.
No spamming. This is not the place to sell miracle cures.
Say it once. No repeat or repetitive posts, please.
Help us. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.