Specialist: Lack of diversity not unique to Sandusky

The lack of minority and women workers at Sandusky police and fire departments hardly surprises a Huron man specializing in diversity.
Andy Ouriel
Aug 30, 2013

 

Bruce Greenfield, a white man, contacted the Register after reading the newspaper’s Aug. 11 special report spotlighting the lack of diversity at these two city departments. 

The city’s police and fire departments have become less diverse today compared to the 1990s and 2000s, when more blacks, Hispanics and other races worked as full-time officers or firefighters. The makeup of the city, meanwhile, has become more diverse, with the non-white population increasing from 25 percent in 2000 to 30 percent in 2010, according to U.S. Census data.

Only a handful of minorities and women work for either department.

Greenfield serves as representative for Columbus-based Diversity Matters, a consulting firm specializing in diversity. The city of Sandusky is among the company’s clients.
The Register asked Greenfield for his opinions on the demographics at the Sandusky police and fire departments, as well as his general insight on improving race ratios in workplaces. 

Q: Do you believe it’s an issue if there are fewer minorities and women working in the Sandusky fire and police departments today, compared to 10 and 20 years ago?
BG: The issue of diversity, specifically ethnic minorities and women, in safety services is not unique to Sandusky. (But) yes, it’s a concern when the numbers are moving in the wrong direction.
Diversity in an organization gives you a diversity of prospectives, which leads to better decisions and actions. Then, it’s about performance and results. With safety services in particular, interacting with co-workers from different backgrounds will help members of the force deal with different cultural groups in the community.

Q: What can an employer do to attract a more diverse pool of job candidates?
BG: Attracting a more diverse pool of candidates requires reaching out to them, providing them with a pathway to success.
For example, we have been working with a large contractor to create a program in which apprenticeship candidates are identified from under-represented groups, provided with a laptop computer and Internet service to access e-books they need to prepare for the apprentice exam and linked with an online mentor to assist them in the process.
This is a far cry from recruiting at churches and softball games.
 
Q: What can the community do — especially the minority community — to build a stronger base of minority job applicants in this area?
BG: There’s no catch-all solution, and my colleagues and I haven’t studied the situation here enough to make statements about what should be done.
Right now, there are more questions than answers, what has and has not been tried, etc. To a certain extent, it’s not different than any other business wanting to attract people to Sandusky. Perhaps there are some lessons to be learned from Cedar Point, Kalahari and the Chesapeake Lofts.

Q: Is there a disconnect between white employees and minority employees, or employees of different sexes, when it comes to addressing diversity issues in the workplace?
BG: Those in the majority frequently don’t see the problem. These individuals may be doing everything they can to get along with everyone, respect everyone and foster good relations. But they can’t know what it’s like to be the only one in the room.

Q: What can employers and employees do to ensure minority voices are heard in the workplace — the voices of minority employees on staff, as well as the voices of the people in the community who have a stake in the agency?
BG: Our safety forces must change along with our communities in order to ensure that the needs, cultures and languages of all community members are regarded in order to ensure the safety of our first responders as well as the community.

We must continue the dialogue around the diversity issue. All of us, not just those in the minority, should take every opportunity to educate co-workers. Don’t be oversensitive, and be respectful, but let people know when:
• A line has been crossed.
• Why the joke wasn’t funny.
• Why the comment was inappropriate or disrespectful.
• Why the person acted a certain way.
The real need on the individual level is to promote respect and communication. For the institution or organization, it is to create permanent culture change that removes unnecessary barriers to recruiting and retaining minority officers.
 

Comments

totallyamazed

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Second article of 15 to be printed in the SR based on the lack of diversification in the SPD & SFD. I can't wait for the movie to be released.

HA!
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sandtown born a...

Trying to bait in the racists evidentially

Tourist

A diversity consultant who lives in ... Huron. My, he must enjoy the colorful tapestry of cultures there, ethnicities in their myriads of form.

deertracker

LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OH-IO

Sandtown born a... your comment lets me know your possibly a borderline racist. Trying to bait in the racists evidentially? He's proven and speaking a truth and that's your response? It's about time someone told the truth about the situation. All white's aren't racist brother so speak for yourself.

sandtown born a...

Wrong again!!!! I'm racist on which side?? This should be good you don't know me so don't think you do

sandtown born a...

From your comment its obviously a borderline Michigan fan! That's about as accurate as your comment

OH-IO

I don't have to know you. I read the ignorant comment coming out your brain.

Eph 2 8-10

FYI, Sandusky had a black police officer in the mid-1950's. His name was Floyd. A real tall dude and a really nice person...

OH-IO

1950's??!! Was he a sharecropper too! The Civil Rights Bill wasn't even signed until 1965. Lol! That's an insult to African Americans

JudgeMeNot

Why would he have to be a sharecropper? There were many white sharecroppers. Your comment lets me know you are a borderline idiot.

deertracker

Churchwell?

SamAdams

For the record: If anybody is hired based on skin color or gender rather than qualification, there's going to be one he11 of a lawsuit if a resident is hurt or killed as a result!

I don't particularly care about color or gender. What I DO particularly care about is qualification (and that the qualifications FOR the job aren't downgraded for the sake of diversity). The SFD and the SPD should have a file of applicants. When there's an opening, they should hire the most qualified individual from that file (can't pass the tests, can't get hired — duh!). What they SHOULDN'T do is bow down to a host of political correctness or a newspaper agenda.

I

Perhaps, the Sandusky Register should hire this guy. I'm sure Westerhold and any of the others on the all-white staff wouldn't mind giving up his job to a minority for the sake of diversity. I love how liberals only like to talk the talk!

Nemesis

" Q: What can the community do — especially the minority community — to build a stronger base of minority job applicants in this area?
BG: There’s no catch-all solution, "

Yes there is - finish school, and don't breed until you're married and successful.

santown419

Like your family. In your case they should have had a abortion one less idiot.

Simple Enough II

Istead of worrying about "Diversification" why not worry about attracting the best people for the job? Why take the chance of hiring mediocre or worse yet subpar performers?

The Big Dog's back

So if they are not white you are taking a chance of hiring mediocre or worse yet sub par performers?

SamAdams

That's not what ANYbody here said. In fact, everyone but YOU has said that the most qualified person(s) should be hired. Not the most qualified white man, black woman, Asian man, or Hispanic woman. THE. MOST. QUALIFIED. And if that happens to be a man because upper body strength is a requirement the vast majority of women can't meet, so what? And if that man happens to be white, so what? Don't you WANT the most qualified firefighters or police officers?

I don't care about diversity. I don't care about ethnicity at ALL. The ONLY thing I care about is that the people hired are the most qualified applicant at the time of the opening. That's it. The suggestion here isn't that minorities are mediocre or sub-par performers but rather that requiring diversity quotas OVER qualifications means there WILL be less than the most qualified hires made at some point just to provide a check mark on a list somewhere.

If gender or skin color really doesn't matter to YOU, why would you suggest minorities of any kind need diversity requirements to be hired? Are you saying it isn't possible a minority candidate might be the most qualified at the time? Well, ARE you?

deertracker

Well, there's lots of reasons for lack of diversity and race is probably not even in the top 5.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I agree, deertracker. For one, and my physical build aside, I admit I don't have the guts to put my life on the line every day. It does take a certain kind of person to have that resolve and acceptance of possible outcome. I wouldn't do too well as a paramedic either as wounds (comics, movies, etc. aren't real/don't count) and needles psych me out. When I donate blood or get an IV I can't look and often still need a towel on my head. My biggest fear as a kid growing up on the Gulf of Mexico was not just a shark attack on me but seeing/finding a body in the water.

Those are hurdles that any demographic has to overcome!

Nemesis

Wow, you're sounding more and more like Stuart on Big Bang Theory. :)

Sorry, couldn't resist.

By the way, do you have a lot of full length graphic novels that complete stories in one installment? The thing that always bothered me about comic books was the serialization. I get the business model behind that, I've just never been willing to go broke supporting it.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Yes, I prefer those too so you don't have to wait. You can just "shotgun" through the whole story. That is also why I prefer services like Netflix or Amazon Prime over traditional TV.

As for your question, I have two whole walls filled with graphic novels. I have very kid/family friendly ones like "Adventure Time" and "My Little Pony" up through more T or M rated ones like "Game of Thrones" or "Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose".

Depending on your tastes I can recommend novels or story arcs to you if you don't already know what you want. Judging from your posts here, if you haven't already enjoyed Alan Moore's "V for Vendetta" you may like that one.

Nemesis

Of course, this article is about the leftist definition of diversity - everybody looks different but thinks the same.

The Big Dog's back

Or the right wingnut definition where your handlers (rush, sean, glen, etc.) do the thinking for you.

Nemesis

My, how dogs tend to bark at that which they don't understand.

Stanley Laurel

By "lowering" the standard for diversification sake only, doesn't it hurt highly qualified minorities by creating a preconceived "stigma" against them?