SF City Hall calls on its racism expert, DHR Director Micki Callahan, to Further Oppress Black City Workers
San Francisco Mayor London Breed and the Board of Supervisors are calling on Department of Human Resources director Micki Callahan to fix the problems of racism and bullying of Black city workers.
This is a blatant disregard or slap in the face to all Blacks when one learned in a September 2018 committee hearing, Ms. Callahan has covered up or covered for many city department heads most responsible for these acts of racism and bullying.
A hearing took place on November 27, 2018, titled, “African-American Workforce Hiring, Retention, and Promotional Opportunities — Workplace Discrimination and Complaints” at City Hall board chambers, a follow up to the September committee hearing.
To view the entire November 27, 2018 hearing go here SFGOVTV. Scroll to: 180630 Hearing (item 29) @ 1:02.29 mark of the video.
In a repeat performance of a September 19, 2018 board committee hearing on the same subject, Ms. Callahan began her presentation by highlighting the fact that San Francisco is above the national average for the hiring of Black workers.
She seemed proud to state The City employs 15% Blacks compared to the national average of about 4.6% Black government workers. A clear deflection from the real issue, which is racism and bullying of the 15% Black city workforce.
She also displayed a chart showing that San Francisco has a 47% White population but only 30% are employed in city government. Anyone truly committed to addressing the real reason for this hearing would not have used these numbers as she did.
A more appropriate use of those figures would have been to determine what percentage of the 15% Black workers are treated unfairly, versus what percentage of the 30% of White workers are being treated unfairly in city employment. But the answer could have told of a much uglier story.
When any city worker is first hired, they are placed on “Probation.” After a certain period, they either become permanent or they are terminated. “Probation dismissals are not appealable” unless for discrimination, she told all who attended. But later in testimony, we learned from Joseph Bryant SEIU 1021, over “200 probation dismissals for Blacks” versus just “3” dismissals for Whites, in city employment in the time frame these latest figures revealed.
Though Ms. Callahan admitted her agency has problems, she failed to show even a half-size thimble of respect to The City’s Black workforce by simply beginning her presentation by apologizing to the board for the failures of her department in the fifteen-minute she spoke to the 11 member legislative body of San Francisco.
Four of The City’s largest departments presented a snapshot of how they are handling issues concerning their Black workers at this hearing. SFMTA seemed to be the city agency most on the ball, including the hiring of an ombudsman in October.
And all department heads tossed around the term, “Implicit Bias training” as if it was a Frisbee. At the same time one could get the sense, none of these people had a mother. We would not need implicit bias training if people remembered what mothers all over the world have taught, which is how to treat people.
But the “Reprehensible Acts Award” for how it treated its Black workers went to the SF Department of Public Health. Currently being run by its head of finance, due to the abrupt resignation of former DPH director Barbara Garcia. She was forced to resign while being investigated for conflict of interest in an illegal city contract scheme involving her spouse.
Board President Malia Cohen showed understanding and sympathy towards the interim head of DPH. He was forced to answer questions he really had no real answers for while The City continues to pursue a new director. But when President Cohen asked a question concerning preferential treatment in hiring at DPH, his response of, “Not Acceptable” was the, dah statement, of the entire 3-hour 30-minute hearing.
In further remarks, board president Cohen suggested tying budgets increase requests for different departments to how they are treating their employees. She also suggested in the recruitment area, the DHR do a better job at advertising high paying positions by not relying on just the White people’s Gazette(s), so to speak, but reaching out to historically Black institutions of learning, Black newspapers and Black magazines.
Supervisor Sandra Fewer is pushing for an office of “Racial Equity.” But of the 11 member board, which all have 3 legislative aides there is only on Black person working. This aide works in Supervisor Vallie Brown’s office.
Apparently, Supervisor Fewer is also unaware that The City already has an office of racial equity. It’s called the San Francisco Human Rights Commission (HRC). It was first formed in 1964 to fight discrimination against Blacks seeking employment.
It has been suggested to rename the HRC, the “Gay Cause Commission”, based on what it has turned into. Now retired director, Theresa Sparks, a White transgender was sued along with The City and HR director, Micki Callahan for discriminating against a Black staffer. Thomas Willis, a Black heterosexual male was forced out of his position at HRC simply because he is a Black heterosexual male. The case was settled in 2013 for $210,000.00.
Supervisor Hillary Ronen stated, she had not viewed the September 19, 2018 committee hearing on this same matter in preparation for the November 27, 2018 hearing. But in a June 2018 SEIU 1021 rally for Black city workers on the steps of City Hall she pledged to help the Black city workers of her former union.
Supervisor Vallie Brown took issue with the use of 15% Black city workforce. She viewed it as “Disrespectful” and “Just not right.” After forcing out of The City 55% of its Black residents she was not in the mood to celebrate a city for hiring Blacks above the national average. And when one considers how badly most of the 15 % Black city workforce here are being treated, she saw it as insulting the intelligence of the board to use that misleading figure.
The most heart-wrenching part of the hearing was “Public Comment.” This includes the fact that most, not all, are unfamiliar with the process. One must prepare to be able to articulate in two-minutes (which is possible) in respect of other speakers who also would like to speak. But it is hard to remember, “2-minutes” when you are speaking of how much you have suffered just because of the color of your skin. As a result, most speakers had the microphone automatically turn off before finishing their testimony.
The public comment section began with the Rev. Amos Brown of Third Baptist Church encouraging the board, “Do not let courage skip your generation.” And, “Do the right thing.”
Joseph Bryant SEIU 1021, asked, “When do the Blacks in San Francisco become a priority”? Other communities here have been and continue to be a priority. Including a San Francisco Board of Supervisors ordinance that bans city funded travel and contracting with 9 states in America due to their laws that discriminate against LGBT.
Bryant also noted among other shocking facts, 75% of the lowest paying wages for city employees are held by Blacks. And 36% of Blacks are disciplined, which is the highest of all ethnic groups.
Felicia Jones SEIU 1021 called the hearing a, “Dog and Pony show.” And added, the Sheriff’s department where she works has torn down a successful program she started that helped Black and Brown inmates.
Brenda Barros SEIU 1021 has worked for DPH for 34 years. She kept it, one hundred: “The change must begin at the top.” Replacing all at the top at DHR management was needed or we are wasting time, Barros said. And she made it even clearer when she said Black city workers are, “Not looking for preference just equity.”
Cheryl Thornton SEIU 1021 worked for The City for 28 years. She continues to be discriminated against and harassed in her current role even after winning a lawsuit against The City for how they have treated her. She also noted in the September 19, 2018 committee hearing she has been passed over for promotions, though her education warranted such a promotion. In other words, follow all the rules that the White leaders put in place to get a promotion and then don’t get one. In all her time working for the city she has been stuck in the same classification.
Alice Recklin SEIU 1021 worked for The City since 2009, but testified, two days before Thanksgiving she was fired on the spot in an incident where she was the only one fired of all co-workers involved and without due process.
Unnamed city worker testified, attempts to silence him by upper management he was falsely accused as a tactic of harassment against those who dare speak up.
Harriot Larkin testified that Black non-profits are being discriminated against in funding for city contracts, causing those who work in her program to work without pay.
Wanda Baily SEIU 1021 worked in the District Attorney’s office. She was called a “Scary nigger” and was told by Micki Callahan that one complaint is not enough to make a case. The incident has her unable to work while the person who called her a scary nigger continues to work in the DA’s office. Sadly, this should not be a surprise.
In December of 2015, Dewayne Kemp was called a “nigger” by a White transgender after rudely bumping into Kemp. A fight ensued, and the transgender was beat up. Kemp was arrested and then offered a sham of a plea deal: plead guilty to a felony hate crime and he would be released immediately from jail. Against the advice of his public defender, Kwixuan Maloof, Kemp took the deal to be home for the holiday. But at final sentencing in March of 2016 the judge said Kemp must serve time. Kemp objected because he only agreed to the deal on condition he would be released. He then tried to take back his plea and go to trial. The judge refused and remanded Kemp on the spot to serve nine months in jail.
James Harris Jr. SEIU 1021 was involved in a collision with a woman in a wheelchair. He was charged and went to trial for killing the woman. But during trial testimony, he learned that it was the hospital negligence that led to the woman’s death. The City DA’s office knew this, and still tried to pin hospital negligence on Harris. The jury acquitted him, but he can’t get his job back.
While this hearing was going on, across the street, a longtime resident of San Francisco was listening to this SFGOVTV live stream hearing in a pickup truck on day seven of his “Holiday Hunger Strike.”
The hunger strike was in protest of San Francisco City Hall racist policies against its Black citizens and how City Hall’s racism is now affecting the Black communities of our neighbor Oakland, CA.
And though the full Board of Supervisors and the main San Francisco press were alerted to the hunger strike in the first week of November, no one in city government noticed that a Black man was making a statement that racism in San Francisco governance is so out of control.
The reason Micki Callaghan is the apparent winner in this con game is because no one on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors will send a “No confidence vote" to her boss Mayor London Breed. In other words, the board ignored the sage advice of an old Black preacher to not let courage skip this generation.