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Hispanics are vastly underrepresented on the Hill and in top governmental jobs across the country, the nonprofit National Hispanic Leadership Agenda said last week. Citing a 2003 Office of Personnel Management report, the group pointed fingers at gatekeepers in human resources positions and called on the Bush administration and Congress to increase the recruiting, retaining and promoting of Hispanics in government jobs. Although Hispanics accounted for 13.1 percent of the civilian labor pool in the U.S., they only comprised 7 percent of government positions in 2003, according to the report. In a letter to leaders of House and Senate government oversight subcommittees written by NHLA chair Manuel Mirabal, the group called for a General Accounting Office study of agency recruiting practices. In a press release last month, Kay Coles James, director of the Office of Personnel Management, defended her agency: “Hiring amongst Hispanics is at an all time high with a 58.1 percent increase in Hispanic hiring in fiscal year 2002 with 9.5 percent of new hires in 2002 being Hispanic,” she wrote. “The highest percentage in history.” [05/17/04]

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