A federal judge's decision to appoint a special master to oversee the New York City Fire Department's compliance with a court-mandated revision of hiring practices has once again put the FDNY's racial makeup in the headlines.
But New York's Bravest aren’t the only city workers with a disproportionate racial skew. According to figures obtained by City Limits about the municipal workforce as of the end of 2009, several other departments are notably white. At the same time, other agencies are disproportionately black. (See chart below.)
The Census Bureau, which treats race and Latino origin separately (meaning Latinos can be of any race), estimates that New York City is about 35 percent non-Latino white, 28 percent Latino, 23 percent non-Latino black and 12 percent non-Latino Asian.
Overall, the city workforce is 38 percent white, 36 percent black, 18 percent Latino and 6 percent Asian, according to statistics from the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (which, unlike the Census, considers race and Latino origin to be mutually exclusive). So the municipal workforce is slightly skewed toward whites and significantly skewed toward blacks. Latinos and Asians are substantially under-represented.
However, several departments deviate substantially from these overall numbers. The Fire Department is 77 percent white. Several smaller departments (the Landmarks Commission, Office of Emergency Management, Civilian Complaint Review Board and Office of the Mayor) are also more than 50 percent white.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Department of Juvenile Justice is 78 percent black. The Equal Employment Practices Commission is 63 percent black and the larger agencies of Human Resources, Correction and Children's Services are all more than 60 percent black. Latinos and Asians, however, remain under-represented at most of these.